Asked • 03/14/19

What is the difference between は and のは?

The following sentence means "seeing all the different foreign people was interesting." This, according to my Japanese friends is incorrect: > 色々な外国人を見ているは面白かった。 ... and this is correct: > 色々な外国人を見ているのは面白かった。 To me, the difference is so subtle that I can't really get a feel for how the presence of の really changes it. Can someone provide an explanation that clarifies what makes の important in this situation? Update: I'm actually still confused by this. Couldn't the first example mean "Looking at the various foreigners was interesting", and the second example mean "That I was looking at the various foreigners was interesting"?

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