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のに (In Order To)

のに (In Order To)

のに (In Order To) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Conjunction

Essential Meaning: In the process of doing X / For the purpose of doing X / In order to do X

Construction: 

  • Verb informal nonpast + のに
    • E.g. はなすのに [In order to speak]

Notes:

  • In this context, のに means “In order to” or “In the process of” and implies that an action is undertaken in order to further some time or labor intensive process.
    • E.g. わたし日本語にほんご新聞しんぶんむのに辞書じしょ使つかう。[In order to read Japanese newspapers, I use a dictionary.] The implication of this example is that reading Japanese newspapers is a time-intensive process.
  • のに (In order to) looks basically identical to のに (Even Though), but the presence or lack of a disjunctive meaning in the sentence determines which version of のに is being used. In other words, it should be clear from context whether “In order to” or “Even though” makes more sense. Another differentiator is that のに (In order to) can only be preceded by informal, nonpast, volitional verbs.
    • E.g. 毎日まいにち漢字かんじ勉強べんきょうしているのによくおぼえられない。[Even though I’m studying Kanji everyday, I cannot memorize them well.] This example is clearly an instance of のに (Even Though) because the situation would not make sense with “In order to” (i.e. “In order to study Kanji everyday, I cannot memorize them well” makes no sense).
  • When the のに clause is used as the topic of a sentence (e.g. “Xのには”), the の is often omitted in conversation.
    • E.g. すききをつくるにはなにはいりますか。[In order to make sukiyaki, what do you use?]
  • When the main verb is a verb of motion, the sentence may resemble に (Reason / Purpose). The differences between のに (In order to) and に (Reason / Purpose) are that (1) のに (In order to) implies a relatively lengthy process, while に (Reason / Purpose) doesn’t. (2) With のに (In order to), the speaker is often critical of the amount of time, money, or effort being spent. に (Reason / Purpose) doesn’t have this connotation. (3) のに (In order to) can only be used with a verb of motion if the destination is specified explicitly. This restriction doesn’t apply to に (Reason / Purpose).
    • E.g. 映画えいが銀座ぎんざった。[I went to Ginza to see a movie.]
    • E.g. 英語えいごるのに銀座ぎんざった。[In order to see a movie, I went all the way to Ginza.] This sentence can be interpreted as being critical of the idea of going all the way to Ginza to see a movie. This is based on the fact that のに implies a lengthy process.
    • E.g. *映画えいがるのにった。[I went in order to see a movie.] This is ungrammatical because the destination must be made explicit when using のに with a motion verb.
  • のに (In order to) is also similar to ために. The difference is that ために simply implies purpose, while のに implies some sort of deliberate process.
    • E.g. *きるのにべる。[I eat for the purpose of living.] This sentence is strange because living is incongruous with the concept of a deliberate process.
    • E.g. きるためにべる。[I eat to live.]

Example Sentences:

わたし日本語にほんご新聞しんぶんむのに辞書じしょ使つか[In order to read Japanese newspapers, I use a dictionary.]

このレポートをくのに1ヶ月かげつかかりました。[In order to write my report, it took 1 month.]

会社かいしゃくのにバスと電車でんしゃ使つかっている。[In order to go to work, I use a train and a bus.]

WILD Examples:

This example was encountered while playing with a Nintendo Wii U. The text says: このソフトをあそにはWiiリモコンプラスが必要ひつようです [In order to play this game, a Wii Plus Controller is required]
Here is a random review for Legoland in Malaysia. The tagline of the review says: はいのに時間じかんかかる [It takes a lot of time in order to get in]

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