Help! Please explain sentence structure


Hello. This sentence came from Minna no Nihongo. I understand what it means (they can do what normal people can’t) but I don’t know how it was formed. So please do explain it to me. Thank you!



  1. Why are there two が particles?
  2. Why is there a の particle in できたのだ?
  3. What happens if you add の to a verb?


The の particle can also turn a sentence into an explanation.


1. が is a subject marker. Here, the first が is attached to 人, and the second is attached to こと. Refer to this Tae Kim video for the usage of が

Also, the two subjects in their entirerity are


More on this below.


2. の is serving as a sort of noun here. This is a common occurrence in Japanese, where non masu-form and te-form verb phrases modify a noun. An example would be 水を飲んだ人 (in English: the person who drank the water) (lit: water drunk person)

Here, 普通の人ができない modifies こと. That こと has been できた and the entire verb phrase modifies の.

の by the way, for all intents and purposes, is the same as こと except more subjective. Consequently…

3. Adding の to the end of a verb is simply like adding こと to the end of a non masu-form or te-form verb.



For me this is the most annoying thing about Japanese… kinda understanding something but not really.

How do you rate 皆の日本語?


Thank you so much! Your explanation was really comprehensive. I have been enlightened. Thanks also for the links.


Thank you! That was a good read. :smile:


At my level, I’m actually satisfied with understanding meanings. But in the real world, I think it doesn’t really count because they look for JLPT certificates and that’s the thing that’s annoying. Haha. Or maybe that’s just me.

Re: Minna no Nihongo
The one I have is 初級で読めるトピック25.
It hasn’t been 24 hours since I used it, but it contains a lot of articles for reading comprehension practice. It has exercise questions at the end. Also an answer key is provided at the back so you can self-evaluate. The main textbook I used for grammar is the Genki series, which was okay.


For me, it helped reading through the website of 80/20 Japanese. Some helpful visuals.


Just want to highlight one little thing that @xyzbuster touched on but which I don’t think quite got emphasised:

The first が marks the subject of the subordinate clause 普通の人ができない. The second が marks the subject of the entire sentence - in this case, the subject is the entirety of the subordinate clause


I mean obviously we are missing context here but wouldnt the translation be something more like “the thing that normal people can’t do has been done”?


May I recommend

It’s one of my favorite channels for explaining japanese grammar👍

Ps. A bit weird though


Yes, this makes sense. (Although I find that in many cases native Japanese speakers are able to figure out the implied subject (or in this case, the person/people who were able to do the thing) easily from subtle clues that I completely miss, so I can’t be sure that such a clue isn’t present in this sentence.)




Yep. This sentence was taken out of an article that talks about ninjas. :joy: Hence, it pertains to them. (Sorry I selfishly took it out of context because I was more concerned on the sentence structure :innocent:)


Textbooks are full of out-of-context sentences, so it wouldn’t be unusual if it had been. (And Japanese sentences which often don’t use so much as a pronoun are not fully understandable out of context.)

However, みんなの日本語 does sound interesting based on the fact that I like ninjas.


Japanese is a much more contextual sentence than English, so the context is often massively important. Sometimes it can make the difference between a sentence making sense, and complete anarchy.