Take the 2-minute tour ×
Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been trying to understand those two particles when applied to these phrases:

  1. 私は朝ご飯にお茶を飲みます
  2. 私は朝ご飯でお茶を飲みます
  3. 私は朝ご飯の時にお茶を飲みます

What I more or less undersand is:

  1. the only/main thing I have for breakfast
  2. at breakfast time, but not at any other time
  3. at breakfast time, but not restricted to that time.

So, my questions are:

  • What general function does に fulfill in sentence 1 (specific time, direction...)?
  • Is, in sentence 1, 朝ご飯 functioning as a time expression?

  • In sentence 2, is 朝ご飯 functioning as a time expression and じ indicating a restrictive period of time?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In sentence 1, に is not functioning as a time expression. It's like for or as. "I have green tea for breakfast."

で when used as a time particle can indicate

1) the age at which something was done: 25歳で日本に行きました。At the age of 25 I went to Japan.

2) the end point of a period of time: 1時間で宿題を終えた。I finished my homework in/after an hour. Neither of these apply in sentence 2 so 朝ごはん is not functioning as a time expression. The で is showing that 朝ごはん is the place/setting where the tea-drinking is taking place.

In sentence 3, 朝ごはん itself is not a time expression, but together with 時 (とき not じ)you get 朝ごはんの時 'the time of breakfast' or 'breakfast time'.

Only one doubt I have: what does に indicate in the first sentence?

In sentence 1 に means for or as. It functions like として.

share|improve this answer
    
Thx for the answer, its clearer now to me. Only one doubt I have: what does に indicate in the first sentence? The event where the verb takes place? –  Daniel Jul 13 at 15:08
    
Is it normal to use に in that context? Or would 私は朝ご飯としてお茶を飲みます be more common? –  Daniel Jul 13 at 16:00
    
Yes it's more common to say "朝ごはんに" than "朝ごはんとして". The latter is natural, but somewhat emphasizes the nuance of as. (cf. 「食事としてではなく、おやつとしてピザを食べる」) –  naruto Jul 14 at 14:07

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.