Constructing More Verbs in Japanese 

 June 16, 2021

By  Paolo Palabrica

For this article, we will be learning how to construct more advanced verbs in Japanese. Let’s jump in to the topic without further ado!

The De (で) particle

This particle specifies the location where an action is being performed.

Watashi wa      Resutoran         de    tabemashita (わたしはレストランでたべました)
(I / as for me)  (restaurant) (in)           (ate) = I ate at the restaurant

Kyou ha           toshokan    de       benkyou shimasu (きょうはとしょかんでべんきょうします)
(as for today)  (library) (in/at)           (study) = I will study at the library today

The word preceded by de (で) is the place or location where the action is performed.

Difference between ni (に) and de (で)

Both of these particles are mainly used for locations and settings, however there is a huge difference when using these two particles.

When used as a location for verbs, the ni(に) particle can only be used for movement verbs. Verbs that signify a change in movement or placement. 

An example for these verbs would be ikimasu (いきます) which means to go, kimasu (きます) which means to come and kaerimasu (かえります) which means to go home. These three verbs signify a change in location and therefore de (で) should not be used when referring to location with these verbs.

On the other hand, the de(で) particle can only be used to signify the place where an action was done. Specifically for verbs which do not require a change in destination or movement. For example tabemasu (たべます) which means to eat, nomimasu (のみます) to drink and kaimasu (かいます) to buy. These verbs have a designated place when they are being done, and the de (で) particle should be used for them.

Other uses for the de(で) particle

This particle can also be used to specify the means of transport or “via” as you would have it in English. 

Hikouki de      chuugoku ni    ikimasu (ひこうきでちゅうごくにいきます)
(via airplane)  (to China) (will go)

This sentence can also be written as:

Chuugoku ni hikouki de ikimasu (ちゅうごくにひこうきでいきます)

Words can be interchanged, as long as you are consistent with the particles being used.

Other examples:

Kinou fukuoka ni shinkansen de ikimashita (きのうふくおかにしんかんせんでいきました)
(yesterday)   (to fukuoka) (via bullet train) (went) = I went to fukuoka via bullet train yesterday.

Ashita takushi de gakkou ni kayoimasu (あしたたくしーでがっこうにかよいます)
(tomorrow) (via taxi) (to school) (will commute)


There you have it! You have now learned the more advanced way of constructing verbs in Japanese. 

Omedetou! (おめでとう!) (Congratulations!)

Paolo Palabrica

Paolo is a software engineer in the Philippines whose hobby is learning languages. He has self-studied Japanese for over 3 years, and now speaks 3 languages and 3 Philippine dialects.

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