1. で (de)
2. に (ni)
3. の (no)
4. へ／に (he/ni)
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 eat breakfast at home every day.
Yamada-san works at a department store in Ginza.
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).
Assembly-person Tamura asked a question in the Assembly/Parliament.
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.”
My parents’ home is in Tokyo.
The ball-point pen is right there on the desk.
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).
Every year there is a fireworks display at the Sumida River.
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.”
No matter what, I want to get into that university.
Is it true (as I heard) that Takeshi appeared in your dreams?
To get to the eighth floor, it is faster to take the elevator than the escalator.
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.”
Please take a seat on that sofa and wait.
Excuse me, but could you put your bag/briefcase over there?
In the future I want to live out in the countryside.
Takigawa-san works in a post office.
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.
Let’s go up to the observation platform on that mountaintop.
I’ll be waiting at the coffee shop in front of the school.
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.”
For lunch, let’s go and eat at that restaurant.
Recently a lot of women go to Hong Kong and South Korea for shopping.