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So I'm reading Chapter 12 (of Minna no Nihongo I) and ran across this sentence:


It's translated as:

Which is the faster way to get to the airport, by bus or by train?

Why isn't the sentence written this way?


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up vote 8 down vote accepted

In this type of sentence, まで means "all the way to ~" with emphasis on the journey. The question is asking which is faster to get to the airport, but in order to judge this, you have to consider the whole route. xref this post for more information.

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Basically に is used with a verb, so you can rephrase the sentence with a proper verb, for example 着く. The following sentences have almost the same meaning as the original one using まで.


バスと電車のどちらが速く空港に着きますか。(more natural)


However, you cannot use に to modify a noun (バス or 電車) or an adjective (速い). It is grammatically incorrect. You can say 空港まで速いか but cannot say ×空港に速いか. Also, you can say 空港までのバス but cannot say ×空港にのバス.

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