JAPANESE LESSON

Japanese Lesson 20: Particle ni vs Particle de

the difference between particle ni and particle de

Though particle is just ONE word, it might define your Japanese fluent whether you can use particle correctly or not. I recommend you to learn with illustrations and example sentences to identify the difference between particle ni and particle de easily and effectively.

I’m going to show you illustrations with funny OJAR friends and example sentences here! Let’s master the usage of particle ni and particle de and Japanese which surprises Japanese people!

Let’s get started!

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

Amazon Reviews:★★★★

Publisher: JAPAN TIMES

Particle ni VS Particle de


particle ni vs particle de

“に ni” mainly shows “an Existent Place”. While “で de” mainly shows “a Place of Action”. There are a lot of usages of “particle ni” and “particle de”.

I’m going to shows usages of “particle ni” and “particle de” with the most common verbs in the last part.

■ に and で Follow Nouns!

I’m going to tell you what are particle ni and particle de here.
“に ni” and “で de” are particles, called “格助詞 kakujoshiin Japanese.
Kakujoshi always follows A NOUN and shows what kind of relation to each word and words.

particle ni


Memorize these particles follow NOUNS! It’s not verbs, adjectives, and so on. That’s a really important tip not confusing with te-form で.

■ Tricky に of Adverbs

Japanese adverbs are often added “に ni” the end of the word.

tircky ni of adverbs

It’s like a “-ly” in English.

Usually, these adverbs can’t divide into a word and particle ni. Japanese textbooks tell that we can’t understand what the meaning of the word is if you divide into the word and ni like; すで + に, as one of the characteristics of adverbs. (Actually, many adverbs are understandable though…)

Learn these words as ADVERBs when you learn Japanese. Be careful!

■ Tricky で as te-form

Some people are confused with で as te-form.

People who beginners’ level of Japanese are sometimes mistaken like;
“If it follows います or あります, it should be used に”.

But it’s a dangerous idea.

Actually, The sentence like a “There is / are -.” often translates into “~に あります。/ ~に います。”. But don’t forget about “te-form で.

tricky te form particle de

It’s the present progressive form “ is / am / are + -ing”.

This “で de” is te-form because follows the verb “学ぶ”. It’s NOT a noun. So it’s not で as Kakujoshi. (I’m going to tell you how to use で later. )

If you want to know how to use で as te-form, you can learn from HERE!

How to use particle に?


how to use oarticle ni kakujoshi

Particle ni can show destinations and and places where creature or things. It is mainly used with action verbs and plays a role as “to” or “at” in English. There are 5 usages using “に ni”.

1. Showing the Destination and Time

“に ni” can show the destination or time. It is mainly used with action verbs and is the same as “to” or “at” in English.

・Destination

particle ni for the destination

・Time

showing time particle ni

2. Showing the Purpose

“に ni” can show the purpose of the movement. It is mainly used with action verbs and plays a role as “in” or “at” in English.

particle ni for the purpose
particle ni for the purpose to do sb.
particle ni for the purpose on

3. Showing an Existent Place

“に ni” can show a place where creatures and things exist. It is mainly used with action verbs and the same as “in” or “on” in English. 

showing the existent place in particle ni
showing the existenet place on particle ni
showing the existent place in tokyo

⚠️ Common mistake:
東京 働いています。

When you want to indicate the place where you are active, you have to use “で de”.

4.Showing Receiving sth. from sb.

に can show receiving something from somebody or is used in the passive voice. It is mainly used with action verbs and plays a role as “by” or “from” in English.

showing receiving sth. from sb. particle ni
Using as the passive voice

You can use から kara” for “に ni” as a substitute.

5. Showing the Result of the Transformations

Also, に can show the result of the transformations.

showing the result of the transformation
showing the result of the transformation  2

■ The Nouns Following に

These nouns are following “に ni”.

JapaneseEnglish
~時代
jidai
– era
~時
ji
– o’clock
~日
nicht / hi/ bi
– day
~中
chuu / naka
by – / until –
~の間
no aida
period

日曜日に 会いましょう。
nichiyoubi ni aimashou
Shall we meet on Sunday?

わたしは 午前中 仕事を 終わらせます。
watashi wa gozenchuu ni shigoto wo owarasemasu
I will finish the work by this morning.

You can useまでに madeni” for “に ni” as a substitute.

・The Nouns Not Following に

You should not use particle に with these nouns. Even Japanese people use them with ni and we can understand what you want to say. But it’s unnatural a little for us.

JapaneseEnglish
今年
kotoshi
this year
来年
rainen
next year
去年
kyonen
last year
今月
kongetsu
this month
来月
raigetsu
next month
先月
sengetsu
last month
今週
konshuu
this week
来週
raishuu
next week
先週
senshuu
last week
今日kyou
本日honjitsu (formal)
today
明日
ashita (casual) / asu (formal)
tomorrow
明後日
asatte
the day after tomorrow
昨日
kinou (casual) /sakujitsu (formal)
yesterday
一昨日
ototoi (casual) / issakujitsu (formal)
the day before yesterday
毎日
mainichi
every day
今朝
kesa
this morning
今晩
konban
this evening
昨晩
sakuban
last night
⭐️午前中
gozenchuu
in the morning

ima
now
さっき
sakki
a little while ago
⭐️長い間
nagaiaida
for a long time
⭐️5年間
gonenkan
for 5 years
いつ
itsu
when
いつも
itsumo
always

今年 結婚しました。
kotoshi kekkon shimashita
I got married this year.

午前中 日本語の 授業を 受けました。
gozenchuu nihongo no jugyou wo ukemashita
I took Japanese lessons in the morning.

if you add “に ni”, we hear like “I took Japanese lessons until this morning..

⭐️ So be careful for~中 chuu or “~の間 no aida” of nouns.

How to use Particle で?


particle de

Particle で is also kakujoshi and always follows a noun.
Particle で can show the base of action, means, and is used in tenses etc. It plays a role as “at” or “with” in English. Here is 7 tips to how to use “で de”.

1. Showing the Base of Action

It can show the bace of activition. Action is important in this topic. So it doesn’t include existent places like “住む to live (in place)” or “いる to stay (in place)”etc. It the same as “at” or “in” in English.

showing the base of action particle de
showing the base of action in particle de

2. Showing Means

It can show means. It the same as “with sth.” or “in language” in English.

showing means particle de
showing means in language particle de

3.Showing Materials

It can show materials or ingredients in the things. It is the same as “ to be made from sth. / to be made of sth.” in English.

showing materials of from particle de
showing ingredients particle de

4. Showing Period

It can show a period. It is same as “in” in English.

showing period in particle de

5. Used in the Tense

で is used in the future tense, the perfect tense, or the past tense t as the point of the time. It is the same as “to be made from sth. / to be made of sth.” in English. It indicates the time when the event will occur or in the future or has already happened in the past.

・The Future Tense

used in the future tense particle de

You can also say;
しばちゃんは 来週 1歳に なります。

 But if you add “で de” in this sentence, you can empathize “来週”. Or we sometimes try not to use kanji+kanji like “来週一歳” because it’s hard to read.

・The Perfect Tense

used in the perfect tense particle de

⚠️ You can not omit “で de” in this case;
日本に 来て 今日 1ヶ月 経ちます。

You need to empathize the point of the time “今日”, it’s not yesterday or tomorrow.

・The Past Tense

used in the past tense particle de

You can use までで madede” for “で de” as a substitute.

6. Showing Reasons

で can show negative or positive reasons. It is the same as “because of” or “thanks to” in English.

・For Negative Things

showing reasons particle de

You can use “のせいで no seide” for “で de” as a substitute. 

・For Positive Things

showing reasins thanks to

You can use のおかげで no okagede” for “で de” as a substitute.

7.Showing the Subject of the Action

で can show the subject of the action. It is same as “alone” or “-self” in English.

showing the subject of the action
showing the subject of the action minna de
JapaneseEnglish
自分で
jibunde
by myself
あなた(自身)で
anata(jishin)de
by yourself
彼(自身)で
kare(jishin)de
by himself
彼女(自身)で
kanojo(jishin)de
by herself
彼ら(自身)
karera(jishin)de
by themselves

The Most Common Verbs with ni and de

I’m goin to show the most common verbs which you can use with particle ni and particle de depending on the situations here.

・Action Verbs

JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 行く
ni iku
to go (to place)
to go (time)
to go (purpose)
で 行く
de iku
to go (transportation)
to go (period)
to go (reason)
に 来る
ni kuru
to come (to place)
to come (time)
to come (purpose)
で 来る
de kuru
to come (transportation)
to come (period)
to come (reason)
に 帰る
ni kaeru
to go back (to place)
to go back (time)
 帰る
de kaeru
to go back (transportation)
to go back (period)
to go back (reason)
に 到着する
ni touchakusuru
to arrive (place)
to arrive (time)
 到着する
de touchakusuru
to arrive (transportation)
to arrive (period)
に 出発する
ni shuppatsusuru
to leave (from place)
to leave (time)
 出発する
de shuppatsusuru
to leave (transportation)
to leave (period)
to leave (reason)
に 引っ越しする
ni hikkosu
to move (to place) 引っ越しする
de hikkosu
to move (transportation)
to move (period)
to move (reason)

・Motion Verbs

■ School
JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 始まる
ni hajimaru
to start (time)で 始まる
de hajimaru
to start (in place)
to start (period)
に 終わる
ni owaru
to end (time)で 終わる
de owaru
to end (in place)
to end (period)
to end (reason)
に 遅れる
ni okureru
to be late (purpose)で 遅れる
de okureru
to be late (reason)
に 勝つ
ni katsu
to win (person)
to win (purpose)
で 勝つ
de katsu
to win (place)
to win (means)
to win (period)
to win (reason)
に 負ける
ni makeru
to lose (person)
to lose (purpose)
で 負ける
de makeru
to lose (place)
to lose (period)
to lose (reason)
に 勉強する
ni benkyousuru
to study (time)で 勉強する
de benkyousuru
to study (place)
to study (means)
to study (language)
to study (period)
に 教える
ni oshieru
to teach (person)で 教える
de oshieru
to teach (place)
to teach (means)
to teach (language)
to teach (period)
■ Business
JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 働く
ni hataraku
to work (time)で 働く
de hataraku
to work (place)
to work (period)
to work (reason)
に 伝える
ni tsutaeru
to tell (to person)
to tell (time)
to tell (purpose)
で 伝える
de tsutaeru
to tell (place)
to tell (means)
to tell (language)
to tell (period)
to tell (reason)
に 問い合わせる
ni toiawaseru
to inquire (person)
to inquire (time)
to inquire (purpose)
で 問い合わせる
de toiawaseru
to inquire (place)
to inquire (means)
to inquire (language)
to inquire (period)
to inquire (reason)
に 謝る
ni ayamaru
to apologize (to person)
to apologize (purpose)
で 謝る
de ayamaru
too apologize (place)
to apologize (means)
to apologize (language)
to apologize (reason)
に 送る
ni okuru
to send (to person)
to send (to place)
to send (time)
to send (purpose)
で 送る
de okuru
to send (place)
to send (means)
to send (language)
to send (period)
to send (reason)
■ Life
JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 開ける
ni akeru
to open (time)で 開ける
de akeru
to open (place)
to open (means)
to open (period)
to open (reason)
に 閉める
ni shimeru
to close (time)で 閉める
de shimeru
to open (place)
to close (means)
to close (period)
to close (reason)
に 入れる
ni ireru
to put (to place)
to put (time)
to put (purpose)
で 入れる
de ireru
to put (in place)
to put (means)
to put (period)
to put (reason)
に 言う
ni iu
to say (to person)
to say (time)
to say (purpose)
で 言う
de iu
to say (place)
to say (means)
to say (language)
to say (period)
to say (reason)
に  きく
ni kiku
に 尋ねる
ni tazuneru
to ask (person)
to ask (time)
to ask (purpose)
で きく
de kiku
で 尋ねる
de tazuneru
to ask (place)
to ask (means)
to ask (language)
to ask (period)
to ask (reason)
に 書く
ni kaku
to write (for person)
to write (time)
to write (purpose)
で 書く
de kaku
to write (place)
to write (means)
to write (language)
to write (period)
to write (reason)
に  読む
ni yomu
to read (for person)
to read (time)
で  読む
de yomu
to read (place)
to read (means)
to read ( language)
to read (period)
to read (reason)
に 気づく
ni kizuku
to notice (person)
to notice (time)
to notice (purpose)
で 気づく
de kizuku
to notice (place)
to notice (means)
to notice (period)
to notice (reason)

・Existant Verbs

JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 住む
ni sumu
to live (in place)
to live (time)
で 住む
de sumu
to live (means)
to live (period)
to live (reason)
に 泊まる
ni tomaru
to stay (in place)
to stay (time)
で 泊まる
de tomaru
to stay (means)
to stay (period)
to stay (reason)
に 立つ
ni tatsu
to stand (by place)で 立つ
de tatsu
to stand (means)
to stand (period)
to stand (reason)
に 座る
ni suwaru
to sit (on place)で 座る
de suwaru
to sit (means)
to sit (reason)
に 掛ける
ni kakeru
to hang (on place)で 掛ける
de kakeru
to hang (means)
to hang (reason)

・Passive Verbs

JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 招待される
ni shoutaisareru
to be invited (by person)
to be invited (time)
to be invited (purpose)
で 招待される
de shoutaisareru
to be invited (place)
to be invited (means)
to be invited (reason)
に 呼ばれる
ni yobareru
to be called (by person)
to be called (time)
to be called (purpose)
で 呼ばれる
de yobareru
to be called (place)
to be called (means)
to be called (reason)
に 使われる
ni tsukawareru
to be used (by person)
to be used (time)
to be used (purpose)
で 使われる
de tsukawareru
to be used (place)
to be used (means)
to be used (reason)
に 発見される
ni hakkensareru
to be found (by person)
to be found (time)
to be found (purpose)
で 発見される
de hakkensareru
to be found (place)
to be found (means)
to be found (reason)
に 期待される
ni kitaisareru
to be expected (by person)
to be expected (purpose)
で 期待される
de kitaisareru
to be expected (place)
to be expected (reason)

・Emotional Verbs

JapaneseUsages with niJapaneseUsages with de
に 心配する
ni shinpaisuru
to worry (about purpose)で 心配する
de shinpaisareru
to worry (place)
to worry (reason)
に 喜ぶ
ni yorokobu
to be glad at (time)
to be glad at (purpose)
で 喜ぶ
de yorokobu
to be glad at (place)
to be glad at (reason)
に 悲しむ
ni kanashimu
to be sad (time)
to be sad (about purpose)
で 悲しむ
de kanashimu
to be sad (place)
to be sad (reason)
に 怒る
ni okoru
to be angry (with person)
to be angry (time)
to be angry (about purpose)
で 怒る
de okoru
to be angry (place)
to be angry (period)
to be angry (reason)
に 疲れる
ni tsukareru
to be tired (of person)
to be tired (of purpose)
で 疲れる
de tsukareru
to be tired (reason)
に 飽きる
ni akiru
to be bored (with purpose)で 飽きる
de akiru
to be bored (reason)

Particle ni vs Particle de QUIZ

Homework

Answers these questions in Japanese and comment below!

1. あなたは どうやって 仕事 / 学校 に行きますか。
2. あなたは どこに 住んでいますか。

Okay, that’s all for today!
Good luck with your Japanese study 😊👍

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

Amazon Reviews:★★★★

Publisher: JAPAN TIMES

Next Lesson is;

Minna no Nihongo 22: Nihongo wo Oshiete Kudasai

Previous Lesson is; CLICK HERE!

Japanese Lesson 19: te-form Is Very Easy!

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