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Tae Kim translates the following as:

他にいいものがたくさんあるけど、やっぱりこれにする。
There are a lot of other good things, but as I thought, I'll go with this one.

Here is 他 a noun, adjective or an adverb? I would think adjective, but then why the に? Because 他 is a の (as opposed to な)adjective then the conjugation to change to an adverb should be "他く" not "他に". However, 他 (ほか) does not end in い so I'm thoroughly confused as to how 他 conjugates as an adverb.

Can someone please explain to me what 他 is and why we use 他にいいもの as opposed to 他いいもの or 他のいいもの to express "good things"?

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"Because 他 is a の (as opposed to な)adjective then the conjugation to change to an adverb should be "他く" not "他に"." ← this statement is false. –  Flaw Dec 31 '13 at 17:32
    
@Flaw - jisho.org/words?jap=%E4%BB%96&eng=&dict=edict defines 他 as No-adjective. –  P.Brian.Mackey Dec 31 '13 at 17:41
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I think you're confused as to how の-adjectives work. The adverb form of 他の is indeed 他に. (Really, the only difference between の- and な-adjectives is the adnominal form.) –  Sjiveru Dec 31 '13 at 19:29
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I'm pretty sure the usage for 他に is adverbial. The issue you might be running into is that if you translate the sentence piece-by-piece, you won't get the sentence Tae Kim has, but his translation is not wrong per se. –  virmaior Jan 1 at 2:45
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Both の- and な-adjectives are basically nouns + である, and the adverbial (well, 連用形, really a continuative) form of である is に, if that helps. –  Sjiveru Jan 1 at 3:26
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I would recommend avoiding projecting English/Western linguistic terminology onto Japanese as much as humanly possible, as it will mostly just distort what is really going on. Focus on how it is used until you're ready to read about native Japanese linguistic analysis. 他に is ほかに because that's how it's used, in the end.

A more satisfying answer in between blind tautology and heavy-duty analysis is to analyze 「他に」 as a 'list of alternatives', as shown by the 「これにする」fragment. "他に" is expressing the existence of other choices, which you know is given the に particle.

どれに する?」

「うん…これと、これかな。」

他には?」

「あと、そこの…」

「赤いの、それとも、青いの?」

「うん…やっぱり 青いのに しよう。」

(If you are a programmer or an adventure gamer, you can think of it as a forked path, and the "に" here as marking a direction or destination you go to upon choosing.)

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The first sentence is worth gold. –  Tokyo Nagoya Feb 3 at 12:05
    
I made a poor Japanese linguistics professor uncomfortable for a semester because I kept asking about that, even though he was trained in the Western theory ;) –  Trevor Alexander Feb 3 at 23:18
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