Why is odour in this sentence?


I’m not understanding the reason why ‘ga’ and ‘odour’ is in this sentence. I suppose because the word ‘sweet’ by itself has no context therefore ‘odour’ needs to be highlighted with the ‘ga’ particle? I’m assuming that ‘ga’ is there to emphasise odour.

‘Dogs poop does not smell sweet’

If so, I think I’m going to find it a bit hard to understand where I would put ‘ga’ in future sentences such as these.


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This is a standard pattern:


B is a feature of A, and 〇〇 is usually an adjective (but not necessarily) that describes B.

Another example:


My eyes are itchy.


In the English sentence, smell is a linking verb, linking the not sweet sense to the dog poop. But in Japanese, the scent is a noun that you’re commenting on, saying that one of the qualities of this scent it is not sweet. The meaning of the sentences is roughly the same, but the grammar is different.


“As for dog’s poop, the smell is not sweet.” would be a more literal translation.

There’s a classic example that gets thrown around a lot to exemplify sentences where は and が mark different words: (ぞう)(はな)(なが)い. “As for elephants, the nose is long”, or more naturally “Elephants have long noses”.


If I understand correctly, you were surprised by the presence of the が particle, but it would help people more easily help you if you also include what you expected to see there instead. The options for what could go there are pretty limited, so it would help people understand your thought process more.

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I think CureDolly has a really logical teaching method for understanding sentence structure in Japanese:

I think people understand my question already given the answers here. Thanks anyway.

Okay, I’ll just ask it directly then. I was curious what you expected instead of が.

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Didn’t expect anything. Wanted to know why ga and odour it was there in the first place as I’ve mentioned.

because if the left out the 匂いが, the sentence would translate to something like “dog poop is not sweet”.

either way the sentence doesn’t actually have a verb. you could put an imaginary “です” at the end, to correspond with the english “is”, but we can drop that in japanese.

While it’s true that for noun sentences you can omit the だ/です in casual speech, it’s not the case for this particular sentence.

The predicate of the sentence is あまくない. It doesn’t need anything after that, nothing is dropped. It’s a grammatically complete sentence.

The ない itself is acting like a verb (In fact it’s the negative form of ある. You can even conjugate it as あまくありません to make it polite). It’s also acting as a i-adjective, and i-adjectives don’t need a です to form a complete sentence.

If you do add a です to a i-adjective, it’s only to turn the sentence into a polite one; that です itself doesn’t serve any grammatical function, it’s just decoration. It’s a convenient short way to make i-adjectives polite, since the old-fashioned way is to use an adverbial conjugation + ございます that’s cumbersome to use.

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i really need to up my grammar game ^^

thank you for correcting me ^^

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Yeah, just like that :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I thought of using おはようございます instead (which feels less cumbersome), but I thought people would miss the point that I am using the aforementioned grammar structure :sweat_smile:
Edit: oh, that example (and the other ones in every day use) are already in the link you posted.

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