について - Grammar Discussion

English translation:
concerning
about
regarding

Structure:
Noun + について
Noun1 + についての + Noun2

View on Bunpro

What’s the difference/nuance between that and just using plain old “wa” particle ?

1 Like

In example #9, “I will give you the documents regarding the details.”, the official answer is:
詳細について書いてある書類をお渡しします。

I entered についての, and it was marked wrong. But isn’t “書いてある書類” a noun (or noun phrase, or whatever it’s supposed to be called, with a verb modifying a noun, so essentially a noun)?

Reading the English translation, it seems more clear that it’s a Noun ‘regarding’ another Noun, which is why I thought that would be the right way to answer it. But maybe I’m missing something distinct about Japanese grammar that makes it work differently?

Any tips? Is there an issue with the example, or is it just my misunderstanding?

2 Likes

I just checked with a Japanese friend and she said it was unnatural. I personally thought it was OK too so I’ve learned something today. Sorry I can’t explain the grammar because until now I thought your answer was ok :joy:

3 Likes

Thanks. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Is anyone able to clarify why についての is unnatural in that example? I had the same assumption about the answer as wct, and I’m having a hard time understanding why it was wrong.

Is についての ALWAYS wrong before nouns that are modified by verbs, or is there another rule that determines which nouns take についての? Or is this particular sentence just a weird exception?

2 Likes

To me the version with についての sounds like we’re talking about documents that were written by someone (書いてある書類) and also, independently, concern the details (詳細についての書類) because with the の it can only modify the next noun directly. I’m not Japanese though.

2 Likes

@nekoyama @gillian-faith @wct @matt_in_mito

When a verb follows, について should be generally used.
についての modifies a noun or noun phrase. So:

詳細について書いてある書類をお渡しします OK (verb follows)

詳細についての書類をお渡しします OK (noun follows)

詳細について短い書類をお渡しします OK (noun phrase 短い書類 follows)

Generally, those noun phrases are short and made from one いadjective or なadjective modifying noun. (because longer noun phrases are kind of hard to understand)
Like:

についての一般的な説明

についての簡単な説明

についての詳しい説明

You can sometimes, of course, see についてのnoun phrase with a verb (rarely compared to について + verb)
後の文では特別な様子や状況についての話す人の観察を言う。
but many speakers will think of them as unnatural, and instead, would advise to change that についての to について.
後の文では特別な様子や状況について、話す人の観察を言う。

I hope it helps a bit :+1:
Cheers

3 Likes

Can someone elaborate on how this point differs from に関して? Thank you!

I feel like に関して sounds really formal. If a friend said it to me it would feel weird. :joy:

1 Like

Hey @dokidokiwakuwaku !

The meaning of について and に関して are basically the same. Like @matt_in_mito mentioned, に関して sounds more formal, but both of them are often times used in formal writing/speaking.

Although they both mean the same thing, there are situations where using one could make the sentence sound unnatural. For example, when a sentence is an ‘either-or’ type of sentence, について sounds natural and に関して does not.

Another difference is in how に関して can become 〜に関しての+ Noun or 〜に関する+ Noun when a noun comes after it, but 〜について+ Noun can only become 〜についての+ Noun and not 〜につく+ Noun .
We hope this helps!

2 Likes

@Fuga さすがいつも私たちに良い説明してくれています!

Adding on here, do について and に対して share the same meaning of “concerning/regarding” and then に対した can also has the added nuance of contrast?