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.

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物(もの)nominalizer

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。

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.

でも忙しいママだってときどきいい映画は楽しみたいもの。

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

今は、来月の海外旅行のことでもう頭がいっぱいよ。だって、久々なんだもん。

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

「またクラブへ行くの?」

「うん、たけだくんも行くもん。」

“Are you going to the club again?”

“Yeah, cus Takeda-kun is also going.”

ものだ

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

私によくもそんな口のきき方ができるものだ。

How dare you speak to me like that?

よくもまああなたはそんな無作法な振る舞いができるものだ。

How dare you behave so rudely!

数時間雪道を歩いた後によく頑張ったものだと思う。

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.

赤ちゃんは泣くものだ。

Children cry.

子供は本来親の言うことを聞くものだ。

Children are supposed to listen to their parents!

事故というのは起こるものだ。

Accidents happen.

時間が経つのは早いものです。

Time flows fast.

ものだ

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

木は水に浮くものだ。

Wood floats on the water.

金は腐食などに耐性があるものだ。

Gold is resistant to corrosion and so on.

というもの

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

「契約」というものをご存じで?

Do you know what an agreement is?

彼は自分自身の考えというものを持っていません。

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

その日、愛国心というものを理解した。

That, I understood what patriotism means.

というもの

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

僕の決断はシーズン終了時に引退するというものだ。

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

私の研究テーマは、自然に還るというものだ。

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.

彼は金持ちだからといって必ず幸せになれるというものでもない。

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

(Common believes that rich people are happy.)

歴史はただ年号などを暗記すればいいというものではない。

History is not just the memorization of dates.

たものだ

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

子供のころ、よく海へ泳ぎに行ったものだ。

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

私たちはよく未来について語り合ったものだ。

We used to often talk about our future.

私たちは公園でよく遊んだものだ。

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.

たものではない

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.

辛すぎずで気持ち悪くなり、これは食べられたものじゃない。

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

彼女は無責任なので、どうなるか分かったもんじゃない

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

(A)ものがある

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

彼、とても興味深いものがあるわ。

Something is intriguing about him.

この絵は素晴らしいものがあるなと思います

There is something wonderful in this picture!

アニメ文化には、目を見張るものがあるよ。

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)

もので・ものだから

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.

「前回、来なかったね?」

「うん、息子が熱を出したもので。」

“You didn’t come last time, right?”

“Yeah, because my son had a temperature.”

「なぜ宿題を持ってこなかった?」

「犬が食べてしまったものですから。」

“Why didn’t you bring your homework?”

“Because my dog ate it.”

たい・ほしいものだ

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).

日本に是非行きたいものだ。

I want to go to Japan.

何かいい話を持って帰ってほしいものだ。

I hope you will bring some good stories home.

亡くなったおばあさんともう一度話したいものだ。

I want to meet my dead Grandma once again.

と思ったものだから

Used to give excuses.

ごめんね。誰もいないと思ったものだから。

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

すみません。もう知ってると思ったものだから。

(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.

住宅価格はもう少し安くできないものだろうか。

Can’t house prices be a bit lower?

学校のいじめの問題のことはどうにかならないものだろうか。

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.

「手伝ってくれる?」

「忙しいけど、アイス買ってくれたら手を貸さないものでもない。」

“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!)

「としさんのパーティーは行くか?」

「これには興味きょうみない。私と一緒に行くなら考かんがえ**ないでもない**けど?」

“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。

「急かしても、できないものはできない。負けた。」

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

「わかんないよ~。」

「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~”

“Focus!”

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

みたいなものだ

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

ほとんど囚人みたいなものよ。

It was almost like being a prisoner.

彼女の料理は舌のためのシャンパンみたいなものです。

Her cooking is like champagne for a tongue.

奴自体が利事故みたいなものだった。

He was like an accident waiting to happen.

ものか・ものですか

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

私が知ってるはずのものか?

Am I supposed to know that?

経験のない君にわかるもんか!

Someone inexperienced like you would never understand it!

二度と行くものか!

I will never go there again!

ものと思っていた

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.

今日は晴れるものと思っていた、雨が降った。

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

僕は彼女が昨日来るものと思っていた。しかし、こなかった。

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

事態は好転するものと思っていたが、悪化している。

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

**Advanced:**

(A)ものの(B)

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

可能性は低いもののまったくないわけではありません。

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

アメリカでは景気回復の兆候も感じられるものの、まだ採用予算が厳しい会社も少なくありません。

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

新しいセーターを買ったものの、着る機会がなかった。

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.

世界の公用語は英語とはいうものの、イタリアで通じるのは当然ながらイタリア語。

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

今日は仕事納め!

とはいうものの、明日会議に行かないといけないので実質的な最終日は明後日ですが。

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.

「まったく、ボリス、おとなしく死でおればいいものを…」

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

**早やくタバコをやめれば健康問題なしに済すんだ**ものを、手遅になってしまった。

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。

遅刻しようものなら先生は私を殺すわ

If I am late, the teacher will kill me.

万が一アクシデントが発生しようものなら君のキャリアは終わる。

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.

出来るものならすべてを元に戻したい

If I could, I’d like everything back.

過去に行けるものなら行きたい!

If I could go to the past, I would!

をものともせず

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

寒さをものともせずに、彼女は薄着で外出した。

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

危険をものともせずにその木に登った。

He has climbed the tree regardless of the danger.

激しい吹雪をものともせず、登山家たちは出発した。

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.

大学の教授ともあろうものが、なぜ殺人事件を起こしたのだろうか。

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

次に掲げる金額は、費用として、当事者等が納めるものとする。

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”.

政府は、経済が成長し続けるものとして計画を立てていた。

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

てからというもの

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.

赤ちゃんが生まれてからというもの、自分の時間がなくなる。

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

新学期が始まってからというもの、とっても忙しいの。

I have been busy ever since the new term started.

最愛の妻に先立たれてからというもの、彼はひとりやもめ暮らしを続けていた。

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

とは比べものにはならない

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

このアニメは悪くはないが「バッカーノ!」とは比べものにはならない。

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

ノースダコタ州は寒いといえどもアラスカ州とは比べものにはならないと思う。

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.

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