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Grammar detail: particle combination なの and なのは

particle combination なの and なのは
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The particle な (used to join な adjectives or nouns with the nouns they modify) and the particle の (with a couple of different meanings) are often combined. Here are a few different situations in which this form can be used.
In informal speech, you might hear sentences ending with なの. This is a combination of な and the sentence ending question particle の, indicating a question:
なに
もんだい
問題

What is the problem?
なの used this way is an informal alternative to なんですか.
In other situations, the の is the nominalizing particle の. In this use the なの is an informal way to slightly 'soften' an assertion, and is a short form of なのです or なんです:
でんわ
電話
ふつう
不通

The phones aren't working.
This usage is generally only found in female speech.
Both uses above are verbal forms, and the wording is essentially identical, so intonation would be needed to differentiate the meaning.
A third context is the use of なのは, typically following a noun. In this case, the な serves to link the noun with the の, which is acting as a nominalizer or noun replacement. The は then serves its normal function to indicate that what preceded it is the topic of the sentence. This is a very common construction used to mean 'the thing that is ~'.
せいこう
成功
ひつよう
必要
まず
にんたい
忍耐
せんせい
先生
った

The teacher said: "Above all, what is necessary for success is perseverance."
Here, なのは means 'the thing that is', following
せいこう
ひつよう
'necessary for success'. This is marked as the topic of the sentence by the は.
スポーツ
きな
ちちおやゆず
父親譲

I love sports. I get that from my father.
Here, なのは means 'the fact that I like sports' or 'me liking sports'. This usage of なのは can often be used interchangeably with というのは.
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See also:
  • sentence ending particle の - question or emphasis
  • particle の - noun replacement

Words used in this grammar

expression
1. used to make an assertion  (at sentence-end with falling intonation; female term or language; colloquialism)
2. used to ask a question  (at sentence-end with rising intonation; female term or language; colloquialism)
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Kanji used in this grammar

セイ   ジョウ   な to become   な to perform, to accomplish   
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3
ク   コウ    achievement   
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5
ヒツ   かなら certainly, invariably   
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3
ヨウ   い to need   かなめ pivotal point   
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3
カ   なに    なん what?   
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1
モン   と question   と to ask   とん wholesale   
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2
ダイ    topic   
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2
デン    electricity   
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1
ワ   はな to talk   はなし talking   
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1
フ   ブ    not   
2
ツ   ツウ   とお to pass through   とお to let pass   かよ to commute   
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2
ニン   しの to endure; lie hidden   しのばせる to conceal   
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5
タイ   たえる to endure, bear   
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5
セン   さき ahead   
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1
セイ   ショウ    life   なま raw   いかす to enliven   いきる to live   いける to arrange flowers   うまれる to be born   う to give birth to   き pure, undiluted   お to grow, to sprout   はえる to grow, to sprout   はやす to grow, cultivate   
1
ゲン   ゴン   say; word   こと word, saying   い to say   
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2
コウ   この    す to like   
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3
フ   ちち father   
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1
シン   おや parent   したしい close, intimate   したしむ to befriend, grow close to   
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2
ジョウ   ゆず to yield, concede; to transfer, assign   
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5
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