all about もの

When we reach intermediate Japanese in our study, we start to encounter specific expressions that have a multitude of uses and are not explained well. One of those expressions is もの which appears really often in light novels, manga, and so on. The goal of this text is to list many of those uses and explain them in simple words so that you can return them whenever you want and use them as a reference.

I have split this post in two sections, the basic one which takes around the half, with more common grammar, and advanced, with more formal grammar patterns.

By the way, if you like posts like this then you can follow me on Reddit to get info about new posts like this one 🙂


The first use we all encounter is probably もの as nominalizer, literally meaning tangible, that is “physical” thing or notion:

we can see it in some derived nouns, though it is not productive which is we cannot use it with any kind of verb to create new nouns:

食べ物(たべもの) – food

飲み物(のみもの) – drinks

In casual language もん can be used instead of もの。


Used to indicate a reason in an emotive, insisting, and spoiled manner. Expression is used in casual speech, usually by children and younger women. Often used together with だって。Notice that it is used by itself at the end of the sentence.


Even a busy mom wants to enjoy a movie from time to time.


All I can think about is next month’s vacation. I haven’t been on one for such a long time.



“Are you going to the club again?”

“Yeah, cus Takeda-kun is also going.”


Used to express admiration, astonishment, surprise, and awe, generally used together with よく(も).


How dare you speak to me like that?


How dare you behave so rudely!


I think that walking for a few hours on a snowy road is something.

ものだ (supposed to, meant to, typically)

Used to state generally accepted truth about something, can be also used to reprimand. Often used with 本来.


Children cry.


Children are supposed to listen to their parents!


Accidents happen.


Time flows fast.


Used to state the true nature (unchanging facts about something) of something.


Wood floats on the water.


Gold is resistant to corrosion and so on.


Used to emphasize preceding noun (but does not change the meaning). Used with nouns describing concepts like 愛国心、愛情、恐れ、努力、感謝、プライド


Do you know what an agreement is?


He does not have something we call ‘own opinion’.


That, I understood what patriotism means.


Used to explain the function or contents of something (for example documents, research, conditions, purpose, dreams, and so on)


I decided to retire from playing at the end of this season.


The theme of my research is the return to nature.

というものではない・というものでもない (not necessarily, does not mean that)

Used to express that while something is widely considered to be true, it is not always the case. Can be also used as a polite (euphemistic) way to negate something. というものでもない is more indirect.


Just because he is rich, it does not mean that he will necessarily be happy.

(Common believes that rich people are happy.)


History is not just the memorization of dates.


Used to nostalgically reminiscent of something that we used to do frequently in the past and that is no longer the case.


When I was a kid, I often went to the beach to go swimming.


We used to often talk about our future.


We often played in the park.

It is similar to たことがある、but it usually expresses something experienced ONCE in the past, without any emotional nuance.


Expresses the strong feeling of the speaker that the action is impossible for him/her, and usually has negative nuance. Usually follows potential form, できる and verbs like わかる.


It is way too spicy and disgusting, it is impossible to consume!


She is irresponsible, who knows how it is going to end?


Used to express the impression of the speaker about something, meaning that (A) is especially notable.


Something is intriguing about him.


There is something wonderful in this picture!


I find the anime culture amazing. (lit. eye-opening, 目を見張るものがある is a set expression

indicating amazement)


Used to state reason often something unplanned or beyond the will of the speaker therefore it might be used to excuse or to explain oneself. Usually used for not ordinary, more serious events.



“You didn’t come last time, right?”

“Yeah, because my son had a temperature.”



“Why didn’t you bring your homework?”

“Because my dog ate it.”


Used to emphasize the wish that is expressed by たい and ほしい. Usually, it is something hard to realize or long time wish, so it is less often used with mundane and ordinary desires (just たい or ほしい are preferred).


I want to go to Japan.


I hope you will bring some good stories home.


I want to meet my dead Grandma once again.


Used to give excuses.


(context: after trying to enter the occupied toilet) Sorry, I thought there was no one in here.


(Excuse after not telling a friend something.) Sorry, I thought that you already knew.

ないものか・ないものだろうか (why can’t, isn’t there, if only)

Used when wishing for something impossible (or unlikely) to happen.

It often follows a negative potential form of the verb, できない, and ならない and is often used with adverbs like もう少し、なんとか and so on.


Can’t house prices be a bit lower?


Can’t be anything done about the problem of bullying in schools?

ないものでもない (might be possible, is not impossible)

Fairly formal euphemistic expression similar to なくはない (but much less often used) and so on, the double negative expresses that something can be done (lit. is not impossible), but often suggesting that the speaker is tentative or does not like the idea. Often used together with conjugations like が and けど and conditionals.



“Can you help me?”

“I am busy, but if you buy me an ice cream, I might lend you a hand.” (Might sound a bit cheeky!)



“Are you going to the party?”

“I am not interested. But if you go with me, I might consider it.”

Verb[1]ないものはVerb[2]ない (I can’t what I can’t)

Used with repeated verbs in potential form, できる, and わかる. Emphasizes that the verb cannot be done no matter what. Often follows ても。


“Even if we hurry, nothing can be done. We lost.”


「集中 集中。」

「集中しても わからないものはわかんないや。」

“I don’t get it~”


“Even if I focus, I cannot understand something I don’t get.”


Meaning “it is almost the same as X” or “it did not happen but it definitely will”.


It was almost like being a prisoner.


Her cooking is like champagne for a tongue.


He was like an accident waiting to happen.


Expresses strong denial or negative intention through creating sarcastic rhetorical questions indicated by falling intonation.


Am I supposed to know that?


Someone inexperienced like you would never understand it!


I will never go there again!


Used to express the conviction of the speaker or subject, often in a pattern と思った・と思っていた+が・けど and so on, indicating that conviction was false. It cannot follow nouns.


I thought it would be sunny today, but it rained.


I expected her to come yesterday. However, she didn’t.


I expected that things would get better, but they got worse.



Meaning “but”, and “however”. Used when (B) differs from what would be usually expected from (A).


The possibility is low, but it does not mean it doesn’t happen.


Although the American economy is showing signs of recovery, employers are still cautious when it comes to hiring


I bought a new sweater but had no occasion to wear it.

(A) とはとは言うものの (B) (having said that)

Used when (A) is a is considered to be a fact, but contrary to expectations (B) is the case or to provide the additional necessary information (B). Unlike ものの can be used at the start of the sentence.


Although English is the official language of the world, Italian is naturally the language understood in Italy.



Today is the last day of work!

Having said that, I have to go to a meeting tomorrow, so the actual last day is the day after tomorrow.

hypothetical form + verbものを

similar to のに is used to express that something happens contrary to expectations, but the feeling is expressed more strongly. Used with a condition, if only had been realized, the negative situation would not happen.


“Dear God, Boris, it would have been good if you had just shut up and died, **but…**”


If only I had quit smoking earlier I would have ended without any health issues, but it is already too late.

Volitional formものなら

Volitional formものなら is a phrase expressing the opinion of the speaker that possibly if the situation (A) happens, the negative result (B) will follow, usually expressed extreme example which is emphasized with expressions like 万が一 or phrases expressing conjecture like だろう。


If I am late, the teacher will kill me.


If an accident should occur, your career will be over.

potential formものなら〜たい

Used to express a desire that is impossible to realize.


If I could, I’d like everything back.


If I could go to the past, I would!


A formal expression used to give praise, with a strong nuance of admiration for overcoming negative circumstances, etc.


Making nothing of the cold she went out in thin clothes.


He has climbed the tree regardless of the danger.


Despite the blizzard, the mountaineers set off.

ともあろうものが (of all people)

Used with a noun expressing a person or organization that is highly evaluated, and is followed by a comment expressing that person’s actual behavior which differs from expectations. Usually has the negative nuance of disbelief and criticism.


Why would a university lecturer of all people end up responsible for murder?

プロ選手ともあろうものが 地元のファンたちとの交流をおろそかにするとはねぇ

I can’t believe that a pro player is refusing to interact with the local fans.

ものとする (shall)

A formal written phrase, that is mostly used in Japanese legal jargon (for example licenses etc) means “it is agreed that”

第十八条 登記所には、次に掲げる帳簿を備える_ものとする。

Article 18 A registry office shall keep the following books


The amounts listed in the following shall be paid by a party, etc. as costs

ものとして (assuming)

A phrase used in formal language means “assuming” or “supposing”.


The government had based its plans on the **assumption** that the economy would continue to grow.


Used to express something that starts at A, and continues forward. Speaker considers it to be a big event. It is not used when talking about the recent past.


**Ever since** the baby was born, I don’t have time for myself.


I have been busy ever since the new term started.


He has lived the solitary life of a widower ever since his beloved wife passed away.


Used to emphasize the difference between two things. Indicates that the difference is so big that it is pointless to compare.


This anime is not bad, but it’s nothing compared to “Baccano!”.


Even though North Dakota is cold, it is nothing compared to Alaska

And this is all folks,

I am mrnoone and that was ‘not so’ brief Japanese.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *