に Particle (Existence) Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Particle
Essential Meaning: In / At
- Location Noun + に
- E.g. 京都に [In Kyoto]
- E.g. 駅に [At the station]
- に (Existence) indicates the location where something or someone exists. It typically pairs with existential or locational verbs such as いる [To be], ある [To be], or 住む [To live].
- E.g. クリスは大阪に住んでいます。[Chris lives in Osaka.]
- E.g. この学校にはプールがない。[There is no pool at this school.]
- に (Existence) is used to indicate the place where some inanimate object exists, while で (Location) is used to indicate where some action takes place. However, in some cases both に (Existence) or で (Location) are acceptable depending on the speaker’s intention.
- E.g. 私のうちにはテレビがない。[There is no TV in my house. (i.e. no TV exists in my house).]
- E.g. 映画館で映画を見た。[I watched a movie at the movie theatre (i.e. the movie theatre is the location where I performed the action of watching a movie).]
- E.g. *映画館に映画を見た。[I watched a movie at the movie theatre.] This is ungrammatical, because the に (Existence) particle can not be used to mark the location where an action takes place.
- E.g. 東京で仕事を見つけた。[I found a job while in Tokyo.] This sentence implies that the speaker was in Tokyo when he or she found a job, but it doesn’t necessarily imply that the job itself is in Tokyo. In other words, で (Location) marks the location where the action of finding a job took place.
- E.g. 東京に仕事を見つけた。[I found a job in Tokyo.] This sentence implies that the speaker found a job that is in Tokyo; it doesn’t imply anything about the speaker’s current whereabouts. In other words, に (Existence) marks the location where the job exists.
- When the verb ある is used to express an event, に (Existence) cannot be used. The reason (as explained above) is that に (Existence) is used to mark the place where something exists and not the place where some action or event takes place. で (Location) is used for such purposes.
- E.g. こんばんジムの家でパーティーがあります。[Tonight at Jim’s house there is a party.]
- E.g. *こんばんジムの家にパーティーがあります。[Tonight at Jim’s house there is a party.]
- When a location phrase is used as a modifier in a larger noun phrase (e.g. “An apartment in New York“), に (Existence) cannot be used. Instead, the の particle must be used.
- E.g. *ニューヨークにアパート [An apartment in New York] に (Existence) cannot be used to create an attributive noun phrase.
- E.g. ニューヨークのアパート[An apartment in New York] This example is OK.
- に (Existence) can also be used to list nouns exhaustively when one or more secondary nouns are added to a main noun (marked by に) in order to create a list of indispensable objects. In other words, the secondary nouns are implied to be indispensable aspects of or accompaniments to the main noun.
- E.g. 毎朝みそ汁とご飯を食べる。[I eat miso soup and rice every morning.] This sentence simply conveys an exhaustive list of things that the speaker eats every morning.
- E.g. 毎朝みそ汁にご飯を食べる。[I eat rice with my miso soup every morning.] This sentence implies that rice has been added to miso soup as an indispensable aspect of the speaker’s daily breakfast.
- E.g. あの人はいつも白いシャツと赤いチョッキを着ている。[That person always wears a white shirt and a red vest.]
- E.g. あの人はいつも白いシャツに赤いチョッキを着ている。[That person always wears a red vest in addition to a white shirt.] The implication is that the red vest is an indispensable addition to the white shirt.
ヒルさんは今ジョンソンさんのアパートにいる。[Ms. Hill is at Mr. Johnson’s apartment now.]
私のクラスには中国人の学生がいる。[There are Chinese students in this class.]
その本はこの学校の図書館にあります。[That book is in this school’s library.]
庭に桜の木が立っている。[There is a cherry tree in the garden.]
この作文には文法の間違いがたくさん見られる。[You can find many grammatical errors in this composition.]
花子がみのるのとなりに座っている。[Hanako is sitting next to Minoru.]
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