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Question を好き


8 Dec 2019

Hi. Why is it possible to use を好き rather than the normal が好き in this context, grammatically?
Thank you.
Both are OK there. ~を好き is commonly used as same as ~が好き nowadays, especially in colloquial expressions.
Thank you. According to some threads I’ve read, it seems we can’t say sentences such as 彼は猫を好きです.
But we can say, for example, 私は先生がネコを好きだと思います.
Because I have come across a theory that (if I represent it correctly) if 好き is used in an embedded clause and there is a verb after 好き that can take a direct object, then the verb can assign accusative case (を) to the object, say, ネコ, of the subordinate clause. And the verb in my example is いう. Does this thinking make sense?

I quote the original explanation here.
However, when it is embedded under a verb that can assign accusative case and there is no other noun phrase that needs to be assigned accusative case, then the object of 好き can receive accusative case (remotely) from that verb. Either the nominative (が) or the accusative (を) becomes available.
I don't think it has something to do with the transitivity of the verb after 好き. Indeed, there are cases where が and を are seemingly interchangeable because of the transitive verb. For example, 彼 is the direct object of みなす in the latter sentence.

However, this is not applied to your cases. ネコ can't be the direct object of 思う in the example 私は先生がネコを好きだと思います since the subject of 思う is 私. The speaker doesn't think about ネコ in this sentence, right? The direct object, i.e., what the speaker thinks about is actually 先生.

Furthermore, いう is even not "to say" in your initial example. It's ~という you are familiar with.

Here's another example to show the transitivity of the verb is not the key.

バンザイ 君を好きでよかった

This is the first line of a song lyrics. As you can see, よかった doesn't take を as the object marker (it's not a verb, in the first place, though), thus, the transitivity of よかった can't be the reason why を is used here. If が is used instead of を, the meaning is ambiguous and it can be interpreted that 君 is the subject of 好き, i.e., the one who loves me/someone/something, so the writer would choose を consciously or unconsciously to avoid being misinterpreted.

I've coincidentally read 助詞「が」と「を」の置換性について mentioned in the page linked below, i.e., another thread of the same site you quoted.
The writer Higashiyama points out that ~を好きだ is hardly used at the end of the sentence. He presumes that it's because が has a nuance of assertion, and ~を好きだと思います is acceptable because を is softer than が, so it fits the soft nuance of と思います.

~を好き is not so uncommon, by the way. Here's examples I found in a corpus.

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