〈23〉3-7 “mono” (thing / object) & “koto” (thing / matter)

                   〈23〉  ◆ chap 3  " The Japanese expressions & their secrets ! "   

               part 7. "mono"(thing/object) & "koto"(thing/matter)

                             「物」(mono”=thing) is a very strange word. 

It probably refers fundamentally to all matter in the world. The evidence of this is in the way we describe 「動」(moving )+ 「物」(things) as 動物(“doubutsu”=animals), 「植」(planted)+「物」( things)  as 植物」(“shokubutsu”=plants),  and 「人」(human) + 「物」things (?) 


But when we say “mono”, we usually exclude living or moving things such as people and animals. In spite of this, there is sometimes confusion because another word 「者」(mono” ) is pronounced the same way and refers to people. For example, when we sayばけもの(“bakemono”=a monster), is it a thing or a person??? (laughs)


                                 Anyway, for example in a quiz,

     you might ask:  “sorewa donna mono desuka?”,

                                      (What kind of thing is it?)

                 and the answer is: “e-to,sorewa chiisakute kireide takai mono desu”

                                                        (Well, it’s small, beautiful and expensive.)



                            The correct answer is a diamond??

That means, the word “mono” is basically the English equivalent of “object” or “substance”.  It can also be used for food 食べ物tabemono”(something to eat)」, a vehicle「乗り物norimono”(something to ride)or a reading material「読み物yomimono”(something to read)」. It can also be used to describe such as food, transport, books and also as a gift =「贈り物okurimono”(something to give)」.

                               On the other hand, what is 「事」koto”?

The word 「物」“mono” is a real substance that can be touched, whereas the word 「事」“koto” is used to describe an abstract event that cannot be touched.

                                For example, if you are asked in a quiz, 

         “sore wa donna koto desuka?”

                 (What is that thing?) 

                                            You might say, 

                    “e-, sore wa nigiyakade, tanoshikute, dentoutekina koto desu”

                                     (Well, it’s a lively, fun, traditional thing.)

                                   〈 Is the correct answer a festival?? 〉

In other words, the word “koto” is basically the English equivalent of “matter” or “fact”, and describes an action, such as eating, riding, or reading. Compare with the example of “mono” above.

   No, it's not just about the act, there is no limit to what the “koto” can express!


Just to name a few, we can think of "events", "histories", "desires", "wishes". "thoughts", "knowledge". "memories", "possibilities", "details", "facts". "rights", "duties", "experiences”,"habits", "joys", "sorrows", "fears", "imaginations”, ”memories", "plans”….. and so on.

It is the imagination in our head, so to speak, that we cannot actually grasp with our hands. In Japanese, the word "koto" is often used to describe all these things.

                             Here's a little joke for you

       A,  “ima kimi ga kangaeteiru koto wa nandai?”

                         (What are you thinking about right now?)


                                                          B,  “anata to onaji koto yo!”

                                                                     (The same thing you are.”)

          A, “kimi wa nante warui yatsu nanda!”

                                      (Oh my God, you're such a bad person!)

Oh, I beg your pardon!   In other words, “koto” is a product of the imagination. It is therefore sometimes necessary to ask the other person what the thing is. Also, if you don't want to repeat a word you've already used before, you can use “ano koto(that thing)” or “rei no koto(you know, that thing)”  instead.  (This also applies to “mono”.)


                         《 LEANING POINTS 》  Two tipes of “koto”

                                      - - - -  koto ga aru

Finally, here are two examples of sentences you should remember. Both are very useful! It’s a sentence that says “ - - -  koto ga aru “, which appears frequently in Japanese writing and conversation. As you know, "aru" means "exist", but in English it is expressed as "have".

In the first one, the past tense of the verb is used in the "- - - " part.  

For example,

                       “anata wa fujisan ni nobotta koto ga arimasuka?”

                                (Have you ever climbed Mount Fuji?)



In this case, the word “koto” indicates an experience. In other words, the question is asking if you have ever climbed Mt. Fuji. Experience is an event that happened in the past, therefore, past tense verbs are always used before the word “koto”.

Other examples include “nihongo wo benkyou shita koto ga aru.(I have studied Japanese.)”,  “natto wo tabeta koto ga aru.(I have eaten natto = fermented soybeans.)”,  “sakka- wo shita koto ga aru.(I have played football.)”, and so on. Don't forget that the verb you place before “koto”  should always be in the informal form.


The second example is when the present tense of the verb is used in the "- - - " part. What does mean the word “koto”,  in this case? That's right, it's a habit!

                       “anata wa joggingu wo suru koto ga arimasuka?”

                                                (Do you jog?)



For example, this is a question asking if you have a habit of jogging on a daily basis. Use the present tense, not the past tense. It is important to ask whether the person is still jogging. If you use the past tense, it means that you are no longer doing it.

There are many other things you can say, such as “watashi wa tabako wo suu koto ga aru.(I sometimes smoke)”, “ryouri wo tsukuru koto ga aru.(I sometimes cook)”, “takarakuji wo kau koto ga aru.(I sometimes buy lottery tickets". and so on.  But for me, I would really like to have the habit of "winning the lottery".

      Oh, you were thinking the same thing?

                       How lazy you are, ha-ha-ha !!

          ーーー  The next post will be                         


                            <24> chap 3 "The Japanese expressions & their secrets!"

                                                    part 8. “ageru”, “morau” and  “kureru” 1                                          This is published 



                    See you, soon !!


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