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Japanese Particles Indicating Place

japanese particles indicating place

1. で (de)

2. に (ni)

3. の (no)

4. へ/に (he/ni)

1. で (de)

Indicates the place  where an action takes place . Compare this with に (2c), which has a similar function with a limited number of verbs. English equivalent: “at,” “in.”

i) 毎日まいにち朝食ちょうしょくいえべます。

I eat breakfast at home every day.

ii) 山田やまださんは、銀座ぎんざのデパートはたらいています。

Yamada-san works at a department store in Ginza.

iii) 第1回目だいいっかいめのオリンピックは、ギリシャひらかれました。

The first Olympiad was held in Greece.

で (de) is also used when the place referred to is not a physical location (e.g., a conference room) so much as an occasion or situation (e.g, a conference).

i) 田村たむら議員ぎいんが、議会ぎかい質問しつもんした。

Assembly-person Tamura asked a question in the Assembly/Parliament.

ii) 私は、あの会社の面接めんせつ、うまくこたえられなかったので、入社にゅうしゃできないかもしれない。

At the employment interview for that company, I wasn’t able to answer the questions very well, so I may not be accepted (may not be able to join the company).

2a. に (ni)

Indicates  where something is or exists , and is often combined with the verbs ある (aru; mostly in reference to inanimate objects) and いる (iru; mostly for animate objects). Compared with で (1), which also indicates the location of an action, に here indicates the location of an action that is relatively  static  rather than one that is dynamic. English equivalent: “in.”

i) 私の両親りょうしんいえは、東京とうきょうあります。

My parents’ home is in Tokyo.

ii) ボールペンはそのつくえうえありますよ。

The ball-point pen is right there on the desk.

iii) 戸田:部長ぶちょういまどこいますか?


Toda: Where is the department head right now?

Kawaguchi: On a business trip. Today he should be in Kyushu.

When the subject is an  event or happening  (such as a parade), the location is most often indicated by で (de), not に (ni), even when the verb is いる (iru) or ある (aru).

i) 毎年まいとし隅田川すみだがわ花火大会はなびたいかいがあります。

Every year there is a fireworks display at the Sumida River.

ii) 今晩こんばん銀座ぎんざパレードがあるそうです。

This evening there is a parade in Ginza, they say.

2b. に (ni)

Indicates a goal when used with verbs showing an  inward movement . へ (e) can replace に (ni) in this usage, but に is more common. English equivalent: “in,” “into.”

i) あの大学だいがくどうしても、はいりたいんです。

No matter what, I want to get into that university.

ii) ゆめなか武君たけしーくんてきたんだった?

Is it true (as I heard) that Takeshi appeared in your dreams?

iii) 8かいまでくのに、エスカレーターよりエレベーターったほうがはやいです。

To get to the eighth floor, it is faster to take the elevator than the escalator.

2c. に (ni)

Indicates the location  where an action takes place when combined with the following verbs : 座る (suwaru; to sit), 置く (oku; to put), 住む (sumu; to live, reside), 勤める (tsutomeru; to work), 積もる (tsumoru; to pile up). Compare this with で (1), which has the same function with most other verbs. English equivalent “in,” “on.”

i) そのソファーすわって、おちください。

Please take a seat on that sofa and wait.

ii) すみませんが、かばんはそこおいてください。

Excuse me, but could you put your bag/briefcase over there?

iii) 将来しょうらい田舎いなかみたい。

In the future I want to live out in the countryside.

iv) 滝川たきがわさんは、郵便局ゆうびんきょくつとめています。

Takigawa-san works in a post office.

v) ずいぶん屋根やねゆきもりましたね。

The snow has really piled up on the roof, hasn’t it.

3. の (no)

In indicating a location, の is often  combined with words such as  うえ (ue; top), した (shita; bottom), よこ (yoko; beside), なか (naka; inside), そば (soba; beside), and まえ (mae; front of) to give a more detailed description of the location.

i) あのやまうえ展望台てんぼうだいってみよう。

Let’s go up to the observation platform on that mountaintop.

ii) 学校がっこうまえ喫茶店きっさてんっています。

I’ll be waiting at the coffee shop in front of the school.

iii) えきよこ本屋ほんやで、このほんいました。

I bought this book at the bookstore beside the station.

4. へ/に (he/ni)

Indicate  the place toward which something is moving . へ and に are interchangeable when combined with such verbs as 行く (iku; to go), 来る (kuru; to come), 戻る (modoru; to come back), and 帰る (kaeru; to return). English equivalent: “in,” “at.”

i) ひるはあのてんへ/に行って食事しょくじをしよう。

For lunch, let’s go and eat at that restaurant.

ii) 最近さいきん香港ほんこん韓国かんこくへ/にもの女性じょせいおおい。

Recently a lot of women go to Hong Kong and South Korea for shopping.

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