Wild Nihongo!
に Particle (Surface)

に Particle (Surface)

に Particle (Surface) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: On / Onto


  • Surface + に
    • E.g. かべ [On the wall / Onto the wall]


  • に (Surface) marks the surface directly upon which an action is performed (e.g. “I drew graffiti on the wall”, “I skated on the ice”, “I stood on the balance beam“).
    • E.g. ここにあなたの名前なまえ住所じゅうしょいてください。[Please write your name and address here (i.e. onto this surface).]
  • There is a subtle difference between に (Surface) and で (Location). Namely, で (Location) indicates the general location where some action takes place (e.g. “I took a nap in the park“, “I met my friend at a cafe”, “I busked in the street“). に (Surface), on the other hand, indicates a direct surface upon which some action takes place. To illustrate the difference:
    • E.g. みちいた。[I drew a picture onto the surface of the street.]
    • E.g. みちいた。[I drew a picture while I was in the street.]
  • に (Surface) and に (Existence) can be differentiated based on context and verb usage. If に is used in a context that doesn’t indicate some action taking place directly on some surface, then it’s likely an example of に (Existence).
    • E.g. そのてら京都きょうとにある。[That temple is in Kyoto.] Kyoto is clearly not a surface, so it wouldn’t make sense to interpret this に as an example of に (Surface).
    • E.g. わたし部屋へやにいた。[I was in the room.] This is not an example of に (Surface) for the same reason as above.

Example Sentences:

子供こどもかみいた。[The child drew a picture on the paper.]

ヘリコプターがやまうえにおりました。[The helicopter landed on top of the mountain.]

オーバーはハンガーにかけてください。[Please hang your overcoat on the hanger.]

そんなところっているとあぶないですよ。[If you’re standing in such a place, its dangerous!]

WILD Examples:

At 1:12, listen for this line: ほんんで、部屋へやかべいたり [Reading books that catch my eye, drawing pictures on the walls of my room]
Listen to this line at 2:00: ありのままで、そらへかぜって [As I truly am, I will ride on the wind towards the sky]

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