に Particle (Surface) Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Particle
Essential Meaning: On / Onto
- Surface + に
- E.g. 壁に [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と住所を書いてください。[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. 道に絵を書いた。[I drew a picture onto the surface of the street.]
- E.g. 道で絵を書いた。[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. その寺は京都にある。[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. 私は部屋にいた。[I was in the room.] This is not an example of に (Surface) for the same reason as above.
子供が紙に絵を描いた。[The child drew a picture on the paper.]
ヘリコプターが山の上におりました。[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.]
そんな所に立っていると危ないですよ。[If you’re standing in such a place, its dangerous!]
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