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もの(だ)

もの(だ)

もの(だ) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Noun

Essential Meaning: It’s Because / Used to be X / How could you do X

Construction: 

  • Verb informal + ものだ
    • E.g. はなすものだ [X should speak]
    • E.g. はなしたものだ [X used to speak]
  • Verb ます-Form + たい + ものだ
    • E.g. はなしたいものだ [X would surely like to speak]
  • (い-Adjective / な-Adjective) informal + もの (だ)
    • E.g. たかいものだ [It’s because X is expensive]
    • E.g. しずかだもの [It’s because X is quiet]

Notes:

  • もの(だ) is a tricky grammar point to understand. Basically, もの(だ) is used to present a piece of information as if it were a tangible object. By presenting the information that precedes もの(だ) as if it were tangible, this structure conveys a certain level of wistful emotion (e.g. an excuse, an exclamation, nostalgia, reminiscence, desire, indirect commands, conviction, et cetera). The precise connotation of もの(だ) depends on the context, the tense, and the preceding part of speech.
    • When used in the past tense:
      • With the past tense, もの(だ) tends to convey a sense of nostalgia. It doesn’t convey a spontaneous emotion, but rather one that has been nurtured in mind for a relatively long period of time.
        • E.g. むかしはこのかわにもさかながいたものだ。[In the past, it used to be the case that there were fish in this river.] In this case, もの(だ) conveys the idea that the speaker is wistful and nostalgic over the fact that there used to be fish in the river, but now there aren’t.
    • When following an interrogative sentence:
      • When used to respond to a question, もの(だ) tends to express an excuse, reason, or a justification for something. In this context, the main copula だ is dropped unless it is used in a subordinate clause.
        • E.g. A: どうしてかないの? B: だって、いそがしいもの。[A: How come you don’t go? B: Because I’m busy.]
        • E.g. かねがないもんで映画えいがられないんだ。[Because I don’t have any money, I can’t even see a movie.]
    • With the volitional ~たい Verb form:
      • With ~たい, もの(だ) expresses a strong wish.
        • E.g. 一度いちど是非ぜひ一緒いっしょにテニスをしたいものだ 。[I for sure want to play tennis together once.] This example expresses the speaker’s strong desire to play tennis with the listener.
    • With the regular present tense:
      • With the present tense (either affirmative or negative), もの(だ) tends to express a general maxim / principle, a piece of advice, or an indirect command.
        • E.g. General Maxim: きな仕事しごとをしていると病気びょうきにならないものだ。[If you do a job that you love, you’ll never become sick.]
        • E.g. Advice: ひといえときはおみやげをっていくものです。[When you visit someone’s house, you should bring a souvenir with you.]
    • With よく(も) ~ ものだ:
      • When paired with よく(も), ものだ is used to give strong praise or criticism towards someone. It is an idiomatic usage.
        • E.g. よくそんなばかなことをしたものだ。[How could you do such a foolish thing?]
  • In casual situations, もの can be abbreviated as もん.
  • In some cases (i.e. when the situation is directly perceptible), the nominalizer もの in もの(だ) can be replaced by の (Nominalizer) with a slight change in connotation. Specifically,もの indicates a tangible object and の (Nominalizer) indicates a directly perceptible state or action. Thus, もの comes across as more indirectly and generally emotive while の (Nominalizer) is geared towards the current situation that exists as the speaker is speaking.
    • E.g. いまビールがみたいんです。[I want to drink beer now.] This sentence is OK. の (Nominalizer) is appropriate for an active and directly perceptible situation.
    • E.g. *いまビールがみたいものです。[I want to drink beer now.]. This sentence doesn’t work, because the speaker is expressing that he or she is presently thirsty and not generally thirsty. の (Nominalizer) would be the appropriate nominalizer.

Example Sentences:

A: どうしてかないの。B: だっていそがしいもの。[A: Why don’t you come? B: Because I’m busy.]

よくあんなおとことデート出来できるものだ。[You’ve been going on dates with that kind of guy an awful lot (how could you?).]

むかしはよく映画えいがたものだ。[In the past, I used to often watch movies.]

こんないいうちに一度いちどんでたいものだ。[I want to try living in a house like this at least once.]

あさひとったら 「おはよう」 とうものだ。[When you greet people in the morning, you should say “Ohayou”.]

としるとむかしのことをはなしたがるものだ。[When one gets old, he wants to talk about his past.]

A: どうしてべないの。B: だって、まずいもの。[A: Why don’t you eat it? B: Because it tastes gross.]

A: どうしてそのほんまないんだい。B: だって、よくわからないんだもの。[A: Why don’t you read that book? B: Because I can’t understand it very well.]

よくそんなばかなことをしたものだ。[How could you do such a foolish thing?]

月日つきひつのははやいものだ。[The passing of days and months is so quick.]

WILD Examples:

The first line of this song goes like this: まえ二十歳はたちになったら、酒場さかば二人ふたりみたいものだ [When you turn 20, I really want to have a drink together at a bar]. At 0:30, you can hear this line: まえ二十歳はたちになったら、おもばなしみたいものだ [When you turn 20, I want to reminisce together over some drinks]
Listen to this line at 3:30: それでもわたし突然とつぜん口紅くちべになどつけたものだから、おまえ大丈夫だいじょうぶかとおでこにてた [Nevertheless, I would suddenly try on lipstick and things like that, and they would smack me on the forehead and say “What’s wrong with you?“] The idea here is that the singer is wistfully looking back on the past.

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