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The particle "ni" に

This particle has a lot of uses...I'll try to summarize the most important ones for the beginner.As usual, you will be referred to the ''Shimamori Reiko's book'' for details and clarifications.

a. Indicates a static point in time or space

It's not used to indicate a period of time or a simple "direction".

The static verbs are the verbs who love to use "ni".


Ôsaka ni sunde imasu = I live in Osaka.

Watashi wa Nihon ni jûnen mae ni sunde imasu = I lived in Japan ten years ago.

Note that words such as "Kyou", "now", "kyonen", "last year", "kesa", "this morning",etc. never require the use of "ni".

"Ni" is used to insert a date, time, month, etc.


Watashi wa rokuji ni okimasu = I get up at 6 a.m. .

Jûnigastu ni yoku yuki ga furimasu = It often snows in December.

b. To form adverbs

We form an adverb from an adjective by adding "ni" to it.


Hontô ni = really
Shinsetsu ni = kindly

c. The ending point of a concrete move

Note that the particle "e" (cfr. supra) can also be used, but with a slight variation of meaning: Indeed, "ni" is rather used to indicate the "ending point" of a move. Although this distinction is almost not considered anymore in the modern Japanese, it is fashionable to use it if we want to speak in a "good" Japanese.In short, "ni" is more "static".


We will rather say:

''Gakkô ni tsukimashita.'' than ''Gakkô e tsukimashita.'' (I arrived at school.) We want to focus on where we are at the end of the trip rather than on a simple direction.

d. Introduce the "indirect object complement"

Reminder: The indirect object complement is the word (or phrase) that is attached to the verb without preposition to complete the sense.It's a verb complement.It represent the being or the thing who receive directly the subject action.


Anata ni kare wo shôkai suru = Let me introduce him to you.

Chichi ni tegami wo kaku = I write a letter to my father.

Sensei wo gakusei ni hon wo yomoseta = The teacher makes his students read a book.

e. The goal

In this function, we can translate "ni" into "to" or "for".


Nihon e shigoto wo shi ni ikimasu = I go to Japan to work.

f. The addition "and"

"To" (と) and "ya" (や) (cfr infra) are most often used to translate "and". "Mo" (も) can also be used. Each one of them has a different meaning, which will be seen later.

"Ni" is especially used to place an order at a restaurant or adding things up in pairs.


osushi ni ocha ni okashi = Sushis, green tee and cakes

Author: Duncan

Translator: Othman