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ちょっと君に話しがある I saw this sentence in my downloaded deck of cards. Does it make sense.

Why does it feel like "You have a little bit of a story in you". How do you interpret this? What does the に? In other words, is it a target particle for the ある or 話.

The way I see it it should be broken up as "君に話"  + "がある" not 君に話がある

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What does "target particle" mean? –  virmaior Feb 25 at 4:30
    
I take it to mean "I have a story for you" (colloquially we would say "can you give me a minute? I have a story to tell you") –  virmaior Feb 25 at 4:32
    
Target particle means it is a particle which shows where the action or object or whatever is aimed at. I get what it is supposed to translate as, what I don't understand is how に is being used. It places the story with 君 because it is saying Xにある means it exists at X. –  Nathan Feb 25 at 5:00

3 Answers 3

In this case, 「に」 is not a location marker. It indicates the receiving end of an action, offer, request, order, etc. So, 「[君]{きみ} = "you"」 is on the receiving end here.

「[話]{はな}し」 does not mean "a story" here. Rather, it means "a word" as in "to have a word with someone".

「~~に話しがある」 should be remembered as a set phrase meaning "would like a word with ~~".

Thus, 「ちょっと君に話しがある。」 means "I'd like a word with you."

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You cannot break it up as

*[君に話]がある

since Japanese does not allow postpositional phrases to modify nouns without a の. So the phrase should be parsed

[君に][話が]ある

You might find it strange that the 君に modifies ある, not 話, since in English the most natural parse would be "I have a [present for you]". However, English actually also allows the above parse, e.g. "[For you], I have [a present]". This might help you to understand the Japanese parse intuitively.

What if you wanted 君に to modify 話 instead? Syntactically you could, turning it into

*[君への話]がある

(にの is not allowed, and becomes への), but this is not very natural. The reason is that these postpositional phrases with の mostly modify definite nouns, and do not work well with 話, which is indefinite (a story, a talk).

However, changing the noun a bit, you could construct a meaningful pair highlighting the difference:

君にプレゼントがある I have a present (indefinite) for you
君へのプレゼントはあそこにある My present for you (definite) is over there

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に in this case goes with ある. 話し = "something to tell you, conversaton" is just a noun.

Another example is 君にプレゼントがある = I have a present for you.

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