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I came across this sentence, and I was wondering, how would the nuance change if I changed the で to に?
この街は異邦人あふれている

この街は異邦人あふれている

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There is not clearcut distinction, but roughly,

  • に is less frequently used in speech
  • に is used more often with non-tangible objects.

Conversely, I feel で is kind of more neutral.

To me, 異邦人にあふれている is a little odd, possibly because 異邦人 is a physical object.

Most common examples with に would be やさしさ/活気/希望にあふれた (full of tenderness/liveliness/hope).


Note that に can be the standard location particle as in 世の中あふれた怪しい話 (literally fishy stories of which there's plenty in the world).

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  • Do you think similar stuff applies to any kind of verb that uses に and its meaning is something close to "being full"? As in 満ちる? Sep 28, 2023 at 8:39
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    @prdelsmradkava As for に満ちた, yes. And I guess 満ちた more often comes with に (i.e., it comes with intangible object). But いっぱい cannot really take に. It always comes with で (regardless of the tangibility). E.g. 幸せでいっぱい.
    – sundowner
    Sep 28, 2023 at 13:49

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