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There is a closed-ended question in Nihongo so-matome:

庭に木をもう一本_

1)植えました

2)切りました

The book says the answer is 植えました. What makes this answer the correct one? Doesn't 切る fit here too? The only thing that comes to mind is に/で, but neither verb is a verb of existence.

1 Answer 1

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で marks your location when the verb is being performed. You can be in the garden when you plant a tree and when you cut down a tree. So, if it were 庭で, either verb would be fine.

に (amongst many other functions) marks the target of the verb. Where do you plant the tree? You plant it in the garden (into the soil). The garden is what the tree is being inserted into. There is no equivalent sensible interpretation for cutting down a tree.

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  • Would I be correct in thinking that both verbs would also fit if the locative phrase were topicalised, as in 「庭には木を一本___」? Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 10:57
  • @JanusBahsJacquet I don't see why adding は would improve life, but I may be missing something. If nobody else responds to your comment you should ask it as a new question. Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 17:06
  • I figured treating 庭に as topic would frame the garden not as the location of the verbal action itself (planting or cutting down the tree), but as the location of the entire utterance at a more abstract level. But I may very well be entirely wrong here! Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 17:49
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    @JanusBahsJacquet I think your suspect more applies when に is replaced by で. 庭で木を一本植えた/切った both works.
    – sundowner
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 3:19

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