How to use の ( = no) : one ( indefinite pronoun)

how to use no


= Dono omocha de asobu?

= Which toy do you want to play with?


= Butano ka osushi no de asobu

=I will play either with the pig one or the sushi one!

Hi everyone!
First, I will be on vacation until August so I won’t be able to make new lessons and answer your questions for a while.
So this will be my last lesson before the vacation. 
I hope you all  have a great summer vacation as well!  !JYANE!

OK, today we will study an indefinite pronoun, の  ( = no)
(=no) has many functions, such as a nominalizer, preposition, etc. but we will focus on the function as an indefinite pronoun today.

We use this の ( = no) when we refer to unspecified things.

:rrrr: one(s), things that~

1) adjectives + の  ( = no)

!star! How to form :

i-adjecitve + の  ( = no)

大きい=  ookii + の  ( = no)

:rrrr: 大きいの = ookiino = the big one(s)

cute one(s)  = かわいいの = kawaiino

difficult one(s) = 難しい = muzukashiino

white one(s) = 白い = shiroino


= Ookiino to chiisai no to docchiga ii?

= Which one would you like, the big one or the small one?

Ex. 安いがなかったから高いを買った。

= Yasai no ga nakattakara takai no wo katta.

= There wasn’t a cheap one so I bought an expensive one.

Ex. 白いはないの?

= Shiroi no wa nai no?

= You don’t have white ones?

Note : We also use 物 (もの = mono) or やつ  ( = yatsu) instead of の  ( = no)

Ex. 大きいの  ( = ookiino)

:rrrr: 大きい物 ( = ookii mono) ・大きいやつ  ( = ookiiyatsu)

Ex. 安いの ( = yasuino)

:rrrr: 安い物 ( = yasui mono) ・ 安いやつ  ( = yasui yatsu)

:i: is a casual form and やつ( = )( = yatsu) sounds more rough  than の ( = no).  Remember referring a person 奴 ( = yatsu) is impolite.

na-adjective + なの ( = nano)

静か = shizuka  + なの ( = nano)

:rrrr: 静かなの ( = shizukanano) the quiet one, things that are quiet

Ex. もし新しいエアコンを買うなら静かなのがいいですよ。

= Moshi atarashii eakon wo kaunara shizukanano ga iidesuyo.

= If you are planning to buy a new air conditioner, you should get a quiet one.

Ex.クラスで 一番きれいなのは誰?

= Kurasu de ichiban kireinano wa dare?

= Who is the most beautiful person in the class?

2) verb + の  ( = no)

You can also add to a verb : the one that

!star! How to form :

verb basic form + の  ( = no)

* 動く(= ugoku )+ の ( = no)

:rrrr: 動くの  ( = ugokuno)

Ex. 電池で動くありますか?

= Denchi de ugoku no arimasuka?

= Do you have the battery operated one?

Ex. お肉がはいっているを下さい。

= Oniku ga haitte iru no wo kudasai.

= Please give me the one with meat.

Note  casual contraction :

ている ( = ~teiru) → 〜てる ( = teru)

:rrrr: はいっているはいってる  = haitteru)

Ex. この間、買ったはどうしたの?

= Konoaida katta nowa doushitano?

= What happened to the one you bought the other day?

2) noun + の ( = no)  〜 one

Ex. 「どんなおにぎりが好き?」
=Donna onigiri ga suki?

= What kind of rice balls do you like?


= Sake no ga suki!

= I like the one with salmon.

Look the picture above.  !blueuparrow!


= Dono omocha de asobu?

= Which toy do you play with?


= Butano ka osushi no de asobu

=I will play either with the pig one or the sushi one!

I said ブタ(豚)  ( = buta) pig  +  の  ( = no) +(おもちゃ = omocha = toy ) =  the pig one
お寿司(=osushi) sushi (shaped)の ( = no) +(おもちゃ = omocha = toy)  = the sushi one

Note: Check this related lesson.
Noun+particle + の+noun (への、との、にの, etc.)

maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Hontou wa itsumo atarashii no de shika asobanai no.

= The truth is I only play with the new ones.


= Dareka atarashii omocha katte kureru?

= Anybody want to buy me a new toy?

 !star! Special note: If you speak Spanish, go check my Facebook page. This lesson is translated in Spanish. 
Gracias, Laura!


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  1. Good day, Maggie!
    I am confused about the usage of と+の, especially in these two cases (the first one is from a song, the second one is from a book, so they might not be good examples):
    「今ここに誓おう あなたとの世界を
    これから未来を 失わないために」
    I understand more basic structures like 学校の先生との会話, but, in those two examples, I don’t even know if that’s the same usage.
    Could you clear up what’s happening in those two sentences, please?


    1. Hi Gabriel,

      OK, I explained the usage in my noun + particle + の + noun so please read the lesson first.
      Click this link.

      You have to assume what verb is missing



      As for the second one,

      If you don’t omit 私と
      you can say both

      But if you just omit 私と, it will be just 彼の間 and it doesn’t make a sense.

      Hope it helps.

      1. Wow, such a fast reply!
        Thank you so much for it, you really helped me. :3

        I had already seen the lesson you linked, but I was still confused with the usage (as in what kind of の it was) and was thinking about where to post this comment, so I ended up posting it here.

        You cleared up any questions I had with the first one, I didn’t know you could omit other things with と (I had thought it was only with 思う/考える).

        With the second one, aside from the use of との, I think why I don’t get it is because of my lack of understanding of 間, or, in particular, if I could say 彼と私の間 instead of 私と彼の間 or 私と彼との間 (I have only seen 間 being used as between in the form of AとBの間).

        Sorry for asking even more of you ;w;

        1. 間 means “between” but in this case it indicates the relationship between two people.
          It might be easier for you to think this と for quoting.

          私と彼の間→「私と彼」という二人の間 →(私と) 彼との間
          私と彼の関係→「私と彼」という二人の関係(かんけい = relationship) →(私と)彼との関係
          私と彼の絆→「私と彼」という二人の絆(きずな = connection/bond)→(私と)彼との絆

  2. Good day, Maggie-sensei.

    My apologies in advance.
    Since I’m not sure in which article I should ask, I’m going to ask here.
    I’m kind of confused with the usage of ある/いる+の
    I’m having this problem to translate informal verbal conversation.
    “Do even you remember where the chamber is?”
    I used this in reflex of my brain.
    Then after a while I felt odd, and thought of other sentences, that maybe I should use のas well. And it became,
    But after reading some articles about usage of のandこと, it even confused me and made me created other confusing options, such as:

    Would you mind to tell me which/what is the right one and why?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello CA!

      Neither one is correct.

      The particle の has various functions.
      One of them is to nominalize a verb.

      Going out = でかけること
      Eating = たべること

      He is there. 彼はそこにいる。
      to make a verb いる to a noun →いるの/いること
      I know he is there. 私は彼がそこにいるのを知っています。(or 私は彼がそこにいることを知っています。)

      Another usage of の is to place before か in “where/when/which/what/how/ who/if” question or negative form.

      Do you know / Do you remember/ Did I tell you, etc.+ “where/when/which/what/who” 〜〜?

      “Do you even remember where the chamber is?”

      It has “where” so you can say
      They both mean the same. The difference is pretty subtle. の emphasizes the questions slightly.

      And it is not just with the verb いる/ある. You can use other verbs with の

      Do you know where Maggie lives?
      Maggie がどこに住んでいるか知っていますか?
      Maggie がどこに住んでいるのか知っていますか?

      (negative form)
      I didn’t know where Maggie lived.

      Do you know when the meeting starts?

      Tell me which one is delicious.

      1. Thank you very much for your reply ;w;
        That was really a great help. Your explanation is so easy to understand. I will take a note and will not forget this also.

        Wish you have a great day, Maggie-sensei!

  3. Dear Maggie先生 ♡♡
    Please kindly teach me the difference between these 2 sentences:

    あなたの “質問の全部” を答えます

    あなたの “全部の質問” を答えます

    どうもありがとうございます ^^

    1. Hi Sarang

      First you say 質問に答えます not 質問を答えます。

      1. あなたの質問全部に答えます。 I will answer all your questions.
      2. あなたの全部の質問に答えます。 I will answer ALL your questions. /I will answer your WHOLE questions.

      I would say 1 is more natural but the difference is you emphasize 全部の in the sentence 2.

      1. Dear Maggie 先生 ❤
        Thank you so much for your explanation and correcting my wrong particle “を”

  4. Maggie Sensei! I love your site so much! I’m learning a lot here about the various usages much better than from formal grammar references. Thank you so much for all your efforts.

    I have a huge, huge request. The usages of “koto” and “no”, especially as nominalizers, still stump me and I don’t know how to put them naturally in writing or speech. I understand the -kotogaaru, and how “no” is used as you explained here in the lesson, but the topic marker/nominalizer issue is still very hard to put in active usage. I would give anything for you to put up an explanation for these two constructions, because I’m learning the best from your format: lots of example sentences that point out the subtleties in meaning and multiple usages without all the confusing grammatical jargon. You have no idea how the saseru/saserareru and “wake” lessons cleared up much of the confusion I had.

    Thank you again for an amazing site :-D

    1. @Enjuchan

      Hello Enjuchan,
      I am very happy to know you are learning a lot here.
      Actually the usage of “koto” is on top of the request list.
      Please give me some time and I promise that I will make a lesson for you sometime.

      がんばりま〜す! :)

  5. Hello~

    I’m a bit confused about noun+の
    I thought な was needed before using の; ex: クラスの中で,アメリカ人なのは僕だけです。 Of my class, the one who’s american is just me.

    But you have ぶたの (the pig one). Is な not necessary?

    1. Hello Kebbin.
      In this case な is an abbreviated form of である(/だ) used in attributive sentences. The full form of なのは would be: であることは.
      Therefore 名詞+なのは means “The…is…” (1-2); “What [someone]…is…” (3-4); “…that/the fact that…” (5-6), etc.

      1. …について問題なのは… (=The problem about…is…)
      2. 一番大切なのは… (=The most important thing is…)
      3. 私が心配なのは… (=What I concern is…)
      4. あなたに必要なのは休みです (=What you need is a holiday)
      5. あなたが優しい人なのは分かっています (=I know that you are a nice person)
      6. 私があのレストランを大好きなのは、料理が美味しくて安いからです (=I love that restaurant because they serve delicious and cheap food there = The fact that I love that restaurant is because they serve delicious and cheap food there)

      これは、ブタ!の!世界だッ (=It’s the pig!’s! world)
      ブタ!なのは!あんただよ (=!The one who is the! pig is you, not me! / You ARE the pig, not me!)


  6. Thanks for the lesson. That really cleared up one of the uses of no that i hear everyday and never quite fully understood!

  7. こんにちは、マギー先生


    In this sentence, “白いのはないの” what does the second の function as ? Is it used to end the sentence more naturally ?

    eg. 何をしてるの? How about the の here ? I am thinking they are used the same way.

    1. @Aki

      (You have a question? Then 問題 →質問=しつもん=shitsumon is better. 問題 means “a trouble”)
      OK, when you make a casual question, you add の at the end.

      これは美味しいですか?= Is this delicious?
      →(casual) これ美味しいの?= Kore oishii no?

      →(casual) 何をしているの?



      1. Thank you for your prompt reply and also the correction.


        PS: 早く答えて訂正してありがとうございした。
        Is this right ? :)

        1. @Aki

          (Here is a pattern : Verb (し)てくれてありがとう Ex. 早速返事をしてくれてありがとう。Ex.訂正してくれてありがとう。Ex.直してくれてありがとう。 )
          どういたしまして! U^ェ^U

  8. Oh, I see! I didn’t think about that possibility at all.
    Very good explanation 先生! Now I understand it! ^_^

  9. こんにちはマギー先生!
    In my text book, I have a sentence to sort properly and the answer the book gives is:
    My answer was:
    I thought when you use 「の」as nominalizer, always follows a particle. I don’t understand why here it follows 「ある」。
    Could you please help me a little?

    1. @Sandra

      This の is not a nominalizer. It has a function as a subject.

      = 苦みのあるコーヒーが好きです。
      苦み is a noun =bitterness

      I will show you other examples.

      1) The song that my mother likes
      母が好きな歌 (haha ga sukina uta)
      = 母の好きな歌(haha no sukina uta)

      Ex. これは母が好きな歌です。(kore wa haha ga sukina uta desu.)
      = これは母の好きな歌です。(kore wa haha no sukina uta desu.)
      = This is the song that my mother likes

      2) a girl who has long hair
      髪が長い女の子(kami ga nagai onnanoko)
      = 髪の長い女の子 (kami no nagai onnanoko)

      Ex. あの髪が長い女の子は誰ですか?
      = Who is the girl who has long hair?

      We use の as a subject marker only when it goes to a noun.


  10. How would I say something like, I got you? As in I got your back. The best word I could find for this for tsukamaeta, but it seems to be more like I caught you. Great lessons by the way! :) please continue!

    1. @Victor

      Hello Victor!
      Right the translation of I got you can be つかまえた but it means “I caught you”
      I got your back. = (大丈夫)私がついている more polite : (あなたには) 私がついています

      1. Could I get that in Romanji? I barely started studying hiragana. :) you are right! I got your back is similar to what I’m looking for. I’m meeting my girl at the airport in a couple of days and would really like to surprise her with this.

        1. @Victor

          Ah, OK, if you are a man, you can say
          大丈夫= Daijoubu
          1) 僕がついています。= Boku ga tsuite imasu.
          (more casual)
          2) 僕がついているよ。= Boku ga tsuite iruyo.

          Good luck!

  11. Hi Maggie!
    I’m not sure is this the right place for lesson request but i will try :)
    Now im studying : てたまらない , てならない , てしょうがない and てかなわない can you please explain what is the difference bettewen them because i don’t get ir ><"""

    Thank you like always and have a nice vacation!!!!

    1. @PukiPuki
      Hi, PukiPuki! Hisashiburi!
      You can leave a comment, request or message in any comment section. Right now I’m on vacation but when I come back to Japan, I will add your request to my “to do” list. I have 40 lessons to release but when I have a chance I will make a lesson for you. I might make it on Facebook first. Please wait. I think it’s a nice theme.

      1. You know im always here :)
        No problem i will wait patiently, i will be very grateful if you will do a lesson about it.
        Take your time on vacation!

  12. i just started learning japanese and i know hiragana and katakana but i dont know what to start learning now. please help me. thanks

    1. @Khalia

      Sorry for the late response. I’m on vacation right now so I won’t be able to give you all the detailed information but you can start super basic words series. All my lessons are random so basically you can start any lessons with “beginners’ tag.

    1. @Linh
      OK, nice try!
      Let me see. Your sentence :
      Since you used the subject marker が after, it sounds like “What did the fruit for lunch eat?”
      You want to say what kind of fruits did you eat for lunch?
      If you want to use の,how about

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