Nominalizers are these handy little grammar items that convert verbs or sometimes entire sentences into a noun. In some ways these resemble the ‘that’ clause in English. They can be very useful when you want to speak about an action as a noun.
For example, if you wanted to talk about reading blogs, you would say the following:
I like reading blogs.
You took an action ‘to read blogs’ and changed it into a noun. That’s called ‘nominalizing’. Pretty cool, huh?
Well, the problem is that in Japanese, there are two main nominalizers, の and こと. You can use them both in a lot of situations to nominalize a verb. For example,
There are some key differences between these two though. Let’s start with のfirst.
How to use the の (no) nominalizer
The particle の can be used to nominalize any verb just like こと。However, there are some situations in which you can only use の.
Situation 1) 知覚動詞 （ちかくどうし） (verbs of perception)
You must use the nominalizer の (no) with verbs of perception. The most often used verbs of perception are
むすめが ピアノを ひいて いるのを
NOTE: To convey perceptions of feeling or touching ～のがさわると分かる is usually used. This literally means you can understand when(と) touching.
Situation 2) other collocations
The nominalizer の (no) has another set of verbs that it collocates with. Collocations are two words that are good friends, they like to hang out together. If you try to pair them with something else it just sounds weird. The nominalizer の collocates with
That’s it for the first part of this series. I’ll finish up こと next week.
1) Can you make sentences with の？What did you see, watch, listen to, or hear recently?
2) Let me know in the comments below.
Image by Jackie, available under the Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License