When you tell your Japanese friends about a thing or person that your friends don’t know well, how can you mention it?

In this article, I will teach you how you can mention a thing or person that the listener may not be familiar with.

When you read this article, you would understand what “という” is.

There are some practice questions, so please read to the end.

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How to use という

We use “A という B” when talking about the name of a person, thing or place that the listener is not familiar with.

You can also use it for subjects you are not familiar with.


Noun A という noun B

Let’s see some examples.

(ex) やまださん という ひとから でんわが きましたよ。
I got a call from Mr. Yamada.

In this case, you got a call from Mr. Yamada, who you are not familiar with.

Probably, you were told by Mr. Yamada that he would like to talk to your co-worker.

Then, you would tell your co-worker about it.

Of course, you could say that “やまださんから でんわが きましたよ”, which means I got a call from Mr. Yamada.

However, when you say that “やまださん という ひとから でんわが きましたよ”, you emphasize that you don’t know the person.

Let’s see another example.

(ex) めんたいこ という たべものを しっていますか。
Do you know the food named mentaiko?

In this case, you are asking a food that the listener may not know well.

You can also say めんたいこを しっていますか, but by saying めんたいこ という たべもの you don’t expect the listener to know about it.

Please keep it mind that you can’t use it for subjects that both you and the listener know well.

×とうきょうという ばしょに いきたいです。
→とうきょうに いきたいです。

Tokyo is really famous city and the listener should know it.

Therefore, you can’t say that とうきょうという ばしょに いきたいです.

Instead, you would say that とうきょうに いきたいです.

That means I want to go to Tokyo.



Let’s talk about yourself!

① わたしは ( ) という ばしょで うまれました。

② わたしは ( ) という がっこうを そつぎょうしました。

③ わたしは ( ) という ( )が すきです。

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