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ことは

ことは

ことは Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Phrase

Essential Meaning: Speaking of X, X is indeed true. (However….) / X is indeed the case. (But…)

Construction: 

  • Verb 1 informal +ことは + Verb 1
    • E.g. はなすことははな [When it comes to speaking, it’s indeed true that X speaks. But…]
    • E.g. はなしたことははなした [When it comes to having eaten, it’s indeed true that X ate. But…]
  • い-Adjective 1 informal +ことは + い-Adjective 1
    • E.g. たかいことはたか [When it comes to being expensive, it’s indeed true that X is expensive. But…]
    • E.g. たかかったことはたかかった [When it comes to having been expensive, it’s indeed true that X was expensive. But…]
  • な-Adjective Stem 1 + [な / だった] + ことは + な-Adjective Stem 1 + [だ / だった]
    • E.g. しずかなことはしずかだ [When it comes to being quiet, it’s indeed true that X is quiet. But…]
    • E.g. しずかだったことはしずかだった [When it comes to having been quiet, it’s indeed true that X was quiet. But…]
  • Noun 1 + は + Noun 2 + だ
    • E.g. いいひとはいいひと [When it comes to being a good person, it’s indeed true that X is a good person. But…]
  • Noun 1 + だったことは + Noun 1 + だった
    • E.g. いいひとだったことはいいひとだった [When it comes to having been a good person, it’s indeed true that X was a good person. But…]

Notes:

  • ことは is a clunky, idiomatic grammatical structure that roughly translates to “Speaking of X, X is indeed the case. However, Y is also the case.” or “X is indeed the case. However, Y.” In other words, given that Proposition X is the case, the fact that Proposition Y is also the case is somehow surprising or noteworthy. Note that the ことは structure is typically paired with the disjunctive conjunction .
    • E.g. わたしはテニスをすることはするが上手じょうずじゃない。[It is indeed true that I play tennis, but I am not any good.]
  • When the main verb or adjective is in the past tense, the “interior” verb / adjective / noun can optionally take the nonpast tense. This is common in colloquial language. Also, the interior verb / adjective / noun typical takes an informal form even if the main verb is formal.
    • E.g. ボストンシンフォニーの切符きっぷえたことはえましたが大変たいへんわるせきでした。[I indeed could buy tickets to the Boston Symphony, but the seats were really bad.] Note that the interior verb えた [Could buy] is informal, while the main verb えました [Could buy] is formal. This is acceptable.
    • E.g. ボストンシンフォニーの切符きっぷえることはえましたが大変たいへんわるせきでした。[I indeed could buy tickets to the Boston Symphony, but the seats were really bad.] In this case, the interior える [Can buy] is both informal and in the nonpast tense, while the main えました [Could buy] is past tense and formal. This is also acceptable, and slightly more colloquial than the preceding example.
    • E.g. 今日きょう試験しけんむずかしかったことはむずかしかったがよくできた。[Today’s test was indeed difficult, but I did well.] In this example, both the interior and main adjective match in both tense and formality.
    • E.g. 今日きょう試験しけんむずかしいことはむずかしかったがよくできた。[Today’s test was indeed difficult, but I did well.] In this example, the interior adjective is nonpast, while the main adjective is in the past tense. This is marginally more colloquial than the preceding example.
  • In addition to , this structure may be followed by other disjunctive conjunctions such as けれど or しかし.
    • E.g. あのひとはいいひとだったけれど頑固がんこだった。[That person is indeed a good person, but he is stubborn.]

Example Sentences:

ジョーンズさんは日本語にほんごはなすことははなしますが、簡単かんたんなことしかえません。[Mr. Jones indeed speaks Japanese, but he can say nothing but simple things.]

このみせやすいことはやすいですが、ものがよくありません。[This store is indeed cheap, but the merchandise isn’t very good.]

わたしのアパートはえきちかくて便利べんりなことは便利べんりですが、家賃やちんがとてもたかいです。[This apartment is close to the station, and it is indeed cheap, but the rent is really expensive.]

そのおんなきだったことはきでしたが、結婚けっこんはしなかったんです。[I did indeed like that girl, but I didn’t marry her.]

WILD Examples:

Product reviews are a somewhat common usage case for this grammar point. This example says: 面白おもしろいことは面白おもしろいけど。。。[When it comes to being interesting, this is indeed interesting. However…]
This is a random review for a a restaurant on Tabelog (a popular Japanese website). The headline of the review is やすいことはやす [When it comes to being cheap, this place is indeed cheap. However…]

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