第31課: The Particle に I

      に is the particle of "establishment." It encompasses place, time, direction, and destination. These things may not seem inherently related to each other, but as you learn more about these usages and how they are expressed with に, you'll see how they are quite interrelated in the realm of Japanese grammar. 

The Case Particle に

に shows deep establishment of an action or state. For the most part, it is equivalent to "at." The next sections describe the most important usages of に. 

  • に may show where something exists or occurs and even mark the person of possession. With this comes a strong sense of relation between the verb and what に attaches to.

1. 彼には子どもがいる。
    As for him, he has children.

2. このにわ)に花はない。
    There aren't any flowers in this garden.

3. 小学校 しょうがっこうはどこ{にあります・です}か
    Where is the elementary school?

Phrase Note: どこにありますか and どこですか are "where is it at?" and "where is it" respectively. At times, they really aren't different. However, there are situations where one is more appropriate than the other. The same goes for the English equivalents. 

4. 都市とし)にたくさんの建物たてもの))てる。
    To build a lot of buildings in the city. 

5. いすに座る。   
    To sit in a chair.

6.  玄関げんかん)に犬が一匹いっぴき)いる。
     There is a dog at the door.

7. 彼は台所だいどころ)戸口とぐち)にいます。
    He is in the kitchen doorway.

8. こおり)は水に)く。
    Ice floats on water.

9. 太陽たいよう)は東にのぼ)ります。
    The sun (always) rises in the east.

10. 太陽は西にしず)む。
      The sun sets in the west.

11. 彼女は男の子に人気にんき)がある。
      She is popular with boys.

12. 私は困難こんなん)おちい)った。
       I fell into difficulties.

Word Note: Notice that 陥る is used instead of )ちる. The words are related to each other. You would be right in thinking the おち in these words is the same thing. 

13. 私の学校には韓国人の先生がいます。
      There is a teacher who's Korean in my school.

14. 東京に)んでいますか。
       Do you live in Tokyo?

Definition Note: 住む is "to live (somewhere)" and denotes the moment of moving in. ~ている shows the state of living there. 住む isn't used for animals. 生息せいそく)する is. 

15. このぞう)はインドに生息する。
       This elephant lives/inhabits India.

  • Shows destination or the direction of an action or goal. As an extension, it also marks indirect objects. Both usages are used with intransitive verbs.  

16a. 彼に会う。〇                    
16b. 彼を会う。X
        To meet him. 

17. 雪が)って、雪崩なだれ))った。
      Snow fell and then we got caught in an avalanche.  

18. 私はいとこに手紙を書きました。
       I wrote a letter to my cousin.

19. 我々われわれ)はニューヨークに)きました。
      We arrived in New York City.

20. 部屋へや)もど)る。
     To return to a room.

21. うち)に帰る。
       To return home. 

22. きみ)電話でんわ)だよ。(Masculine; casual)
      There's a phone call for you.

23. 友だちがカリフォルニアに来ます。
      My friend is coming to California.

24. スポーツに熱中ねっちゅう)する。
      To be bent on sports.

25. バスが来なくて、授業におく)れました。 
      The bus didn't come, and so I was late to class. 

26. 今期こんき)利益りえき)は百億円に達しました。
       This term's profits reached ten billion yen.

27. 彼女はえき)到着とうちゃく)しました。
      She arrived at the station.

  • Shows the effect, condition, state, or goal of an action, including going somewhere. It may also show pretext as in "you make your hands as a pillow."

28. 彼女は病気びょうき)になった。
      She became sick.

Word Note: 病気 refers to an "illness" worthy of going to the hospital. When you don't feel well, say something like 気分きぶん)が悪い or (体の)調子ちょうし)が悪い. 

29. 仕事しごと)に出かける。
      To head to work.

30. 彼らは若者わかもの)候補者こうほしゃ))てた。
      They put a young person as the candidate.

31. 手を左右さゆう))った。
       I waved my hands left and right. 

32. 警察けいさつ)は彼らの救助きゅうじょ)に行った。
      The police went to their rescue.

33. 私は沖縄旅行おきなわりょこう)のお土産みやげ)にシーサーを買いました。 
       I bought a shisa as a souvenir of the trip to Okinawa.

Culture Note: A shisa is a guardian dog/lion hybrid often seen in statues and souvenirs in Okinawa. シーサー comes from the Okinawan word for lion, which is シシ in Japanese.