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と Particle (Reciprocal Relationship)

と Particle (Reciprocal Relationship)

と Particle (Reciprocal Relationship) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: With / As

Construction: Noun + と

Notes:

  • と (Reciprocal Relationship) marks a noun that shares a reciprocal relationship with the subject. For example, in sentences such as “John chatted with Chris” or “John bumped into Chris“, the action is reciprocal; John doesn’t talk AT Chris, but instead Chris reciprocates the talking. John doesn’t run into Chris, but instead they mutually bump into one another. と (Reciprocal relationship) is used in these kinds of situations where both parties experience the situation reciprocally.
    • E.g. わたしはアンディーと一緒いっしょにパーティーにった。[I went to the party with Andy.] This sentence takes the speaker’s viewpoint, but Andy reciprocally experiences the act of going to the party, so he is marked by と.
  • Generally speaking, the viewpoint of sentences with と (Reciprocal relationship) can be reversed so that the subject becomes the reciprocator, and the reciprocator becomes the subject. That being said, if the sentence in involves the 1st person, the sentence should take the first person’s point of view.
    • E.g. みどりはボブと結婚けっこんした。[Midori got married to Bob.]
    • E.g. ボブはみどりと結婚けっこんした。[Bob got married to Midori.]
    • E.g. *アンディーはわたし一緒いっしょにパーティーにった。[Andy went to the party with me.] When the speaker is involved in the sentence, it is generally bad practice for the sentence to take another’s point of view.
  • To describe a more unidirectional situation in which John bumps into Chris or John talks at Chris, the に (Indirect Object) particle is more appropriate. The nuance between に (Indirect Object) and と (Reciprocal relationship) is illustrated in the following example sentences.
    • E.g. 正男まさお先生せんせいはなした。[Masao talked with his teacher.] The use of と implies a bilateral conversation between Masao and the teacher.
    • E.g. 正男まさお先生せんせいはなした。[Masao talked to his teacher.] The use of に implies a more unilateral conversation in which Masao is the one who furthers the conversation.
    • E.g. あきら貴美子きみことぶつかった。[Akira bumped into Kimiko (mutually).]
    • E.g. あきら貴美子きみこにぶつかった。[Akira bumped into Kimiko (unilaterally).] This sentence implies that Akira bumped into Chris and that the two didn’t bump into one another.
    • E.g. *あきらはしらとぶつかった。[Akira bumped into a post (mutually).] This sentence is unacceptable because Akira and a post can not mutually bump into one another. Akira must have been the one to bump into the post. Thus, と is ungrammatical.
    • E.g. あきらはしらにぶつかった。[Akira bumped into a post.]
  • と (Reciprocal relationship) is commonly used with reciprocal verbs and adjectives such as 結婚けっこんする [To marry], けんかする [To fight], はなう [To discuss], る [To resemble], ちがう [To differ], おなじだ [Identical], 一緒いっしょに [Together], et cetera.
    • E.g. みどりはボブと結婚けっこんした。[Midori got married to Bob.]

Example Sentences:

わたしはアンディーと一緒いっしょにパーティーにった。[I went to the party with Andy.]

トムはジョンとよくテニスをする。 [Tom often plays tennis with John.]

みどりはボブと結婚けっこんした。[Midori got married to Bob.]

このくるまはぼくのくるまおなじです。[This car is the same as mine.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 1:14: きみどこかへきたいんだ [I want to go somewhere with you]

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