in Blog

All About Japanese Particles: で (de)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

1. Indicates the location of an action: “at, in.”

Note: Contrast with ni (#13, no. 2).

Kinō Ginza no resutoran de bangohan o tabemashita.
Yesterday I had dinner at a restaurant in Ginza.

Watashi no tomodachi wa, tosho-kan de hon o yonde imasu.
My friend [a friend of mine] is reading a book in the library.

2. Indicates a means or implement: “by, with.”

Watashi wa Nihon e fune de kimashita.
I came to Japan by boat.

Bōrupen de kaite kudasai.
Please write with a ball-point pen.

3. Indicates materials used: “of, from, with.”

Kono kēki wa, tamago to satō-de tsukurimasu.
This cake is made of eggs and sugar.

Mukashi, Nihon-jin wa ki to kami de tsukutta ie ni sunde imashita.
Long ago, the Japanese lived in houses made of wood and paper.

Note: Kara may replace de in this usage except when the raw material is unmistakably evident (as with paper, wood, glass, cloth, string, and leather), in which case de must be used. Compare kara (#15, I-6).

4. Indicates the greatest (largest, smallest, least, oldest, newest, etc.)

Sekai de ichiban takai yama wa nan desu ka.
What is the highest mountain in the world?

Kore wa kono mura de ichiban furui otera desu.
This is the oldest temple in the village.

5. Indicates amount and scope: “within the space (time) of, in, for.”

Kono hon wa ichi-jikan de yomemasu yo.
You can read this book in an hour.

Ano terebi wa jū-man-en de kaeru.
You can buy that TV set for V100,000.

6. Indicates the mode or condition of the agent of an action (not to be confused with the subject).

Yamada-san wa apāto ni hitori de sunde imasu.
Yamada lives in an apartment by himself.

Kazoku-chū de Hawai e ryokō shita.
I made a trip to Hawaii with the whole family.

7. Indicates time or age: “when, at the age of”

Note: Compare ni (#13, no. 3).

Ano shijin wa nijūgo-sai de shinda.
That poet died at the age of twenty-five.

Sensō ga owatte rainen de gojū-nen ni naru.
Next year will be the fiftieth year since the war ended.

8. Indicates the reason for something: “because of”

Byōki de ryokō ni ikenakatta.
Because I was sick, I couldn’t go on the trip.

Taifū de densha ga tomatta.
The train stopped on account of the typhoon.

– Source: All about particles – A handbook of Japanese function words


Write a Comment