I wrote the following post soon after I created this website but I now feel compelled to rewrite it.
The other day one of my students wrote this sentence: ちちはシェフとレストランのオーナーです. As usual, I said to her that she can’t say that because “と” can connect only 2 nouns.
Then the student said to me, “chef” and “owner” are both nouns! Umm, she is right! she got me!!
Still, you can’t say ちちはシェフとレストランのオーナーです。You must say ちちはシェフで、レストランのオーナーです。(or more commonly, ちちはシェフで、レストランをけいえいしています。)
I think that is because, you are connecting two “ideas,” not two “items” or “things.”
Probably the reasoning is similar as when you say “He is an engineer and owner of a company” in English, NOT “He is an engineer and an owner of a company.”
Learning a language is always full of discoveries!
You can use all a. か b. で c. と and d. や in the blank below but can you tell how the meanings change? (hint: how many friends did I see yesterday?)
きのう あった ともだちは いしゃ（ ）そうりょ です。
a. か b. で c. と d. や
か here is the same as the English “or”, so きのう あった ともだちは いしゃか そうりょ です means “My friends I saw yesterday are either a medical doctor or a monk.” (It is unlikely that I don’t know if my FRIEND is a medical doctor or a monk.) Probably the meaning will become clearer if I add みんな/all in the sentence like: きのう あった ともだちは みんな いしゃか そうりょ です。: All my friends I saw yesterday are either a medical doctor or a monk.
It’s likely that I saw more than 2 friends and they are either a medical doctor or a monk.
で can be a particle for a location, a reason/cause or condition/status but いしゃ can’t be any of those, so in this case, this で is the てform of the auxiliary verb です/だ.
てform combines sentences (or predicates) with “and”, so きのう あった ともだちは いしゃで そうりょ です means “the friend I saw yesterday is a doctor and he is a monk,” i.e. he is a medical doctor and monk.
In this case, I saw only one friend yesterday and he is a medical doctor and monk.
Just in case you are wondering, I’d say this combination is not that unusual in Japan. When somebody is born to a parent who is a monk/priest looking after a temple, he/she is expected to take over the temple when the parent retires, so they get ordained as a monk/priest while they pursue their own career.
と has many meanings but when と is used between 2 nouns, that is for the “exclusive and” i.e. AとB is “A and B but nothing else” but you cannot use と when talking about 2 or more roles of the same person/item.
きのう あった ともだちは いしゃと そうりょ です means: I saw 2 friends, one a medical doctor and the other a monk.
や also has many meanings but when it is used between 2 nouns, that is for the “inclusive and” i.e. AやB is “A and B and so on.”
きのう あった ともだちは いしゃや そうりょ です means I saw more than 2 friends and that they included a medical doctor and a monk and others who were not a medical doctor or a monk.
Going back to シェフ and レストランのオーナー
The gist of the story is: if you are talking about more than one role of one person, you need to use で instead of と unless you think of a different way of conveying the same message.
In case of being シェフ and レストランのオーナー, it is easy because there is a convenient word: オーナーシェフ. オーナーシェフ is a chef who runs the restaurant where he/she works.
Although it is either JLPT N2 or N1 level, another way of talking about 2 or more roles of a person or an item can be using 兼.
I am a Japanese teacher and translator.
This is a room used both as a study and for receiving visitors.
2 thoughts on “Why you can’t say: ちちはシェフとレストランのオーナーです。”
Jenna10 March 2023 at 1:13 pm
I think you can also say “ちちはレストランのチェフとオーナーです。”// my dad is the chef and owner of the restaurant.// my dad is the restaurant’s chef and owner.
admin14 March 2023 at 11:59 am
Thank you for the comment. Your comment prompted me to re-write the post. Please read the revised version.