This is actually following a recently asked question on how to say "for."

I thought that saying あなたに私の愛 sounded perfectly fine - "toward you, my love."

However another user changed it to あなたに対する愛, or あなたへの私の愛.

My two problems are:

  1. Why is あなたに私の愛 wrong?

  2. When can I write への and can I equivalently write にの?

  • 1
    Does the への対へ/に of the title correspond to "への vs へ/に", or does it have something to do with the に対する you wrote about? Confusing...
    – istrasci
    May 13, 2013 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


The point is that あなたに・あなたへ are adverbial, and modify a verb (or a whole clause), but あなたへの is adjectival, and modifies a noun. You should see it as ((あなたへ)の)私の愛 - that is, への is not really a double-particle, but rather の is joining onto the end of the adverbial phrase あなたへ, in order to allow it to modify the noun phrase 私の愛. And so:

  • あなたに私の愛 is an incomplete sentence: it has a noun (私の愛, my love) and an adverby-type prepositional phrase thing (あなたに, towards you), but has no verb. (The noun and the adverb aren't interacting; あなたに 私の愛 is the same thing as 私の愛 あなたに.) To make sense of what あなたに is doing in this half-sentence, I have to guess what the omitted verb will be. (It's not hard to do in this context, of course, but that gives you some idea of why it sounds a little odd.)
  • あなたに対する愛 is a noun phrase: it has a noun (愛, love), and that noun is being modified by a clause (あなたに対する, regarding you / towards you).
  • あなたへの私の愛 is another noun phrase: the root noun is 愛, and it is being modified by two further pieces of information, 私の (my) and あなたへの (towards you).

You can also have での in the same way: "山での火山活動" - but again, this should be seen as ((山で)の)火山活動.

  • 1
    あなたへの私の愛 is also an incomplete sentence, but あなたに私の愛 is even an incomplete phrase.
    – Earthliŋ
    May 14, 2013 at 16:58
  • If you like - I was simply drawing a distinction between "an utterance that felt incomplete" and "an utterance that felt complete". That is, あなたへの私の愛 is not trying to be a sentence, but あなたに私の愛 is trying to be a sentence (and is failing). I suppose you said it better. ;)
    – Billy
    May 14, 2013 at 23:46

In answer to your first question:

「に」 can also be used (at times) where you are receiving something from someone else. Perhaps the user you mentioned was directing you to「へ」as a way to avoid that possible meaning?

For example, what if「あなたに私{わたし}の愛{あい}」were read as: "my love from you"? (Would that make sense?) An example of this type of 「に」usage can be found on this forum post, and reads: 「彼{かれ}に手紙{てがみ}をもらった。」("I received a letter from him.")

Also, as far as the phrasing goes, you could also use something simple, like 「あなたへの愛{あい}」(because "my" could be inferred within the context of that phrase.)

In answer to your second question:

As you have found in your search from earlier, you can often use「への」when you want to indicate a slightly more-complicated possessive (perhaps of a direction,) where a direction ends up becoming a sort of "noun". For example (looking at something based on Cici's example in the link from earlier):

東京{とうきょう}へ ー to Tokyo

東京{とうきょう}への行き方は ー the way to Tokyo (or, "the way to Tokyo's direction")

In answer to your third question:

As far as using「にの」in place of「への」(for at least cases like the example about "the way to Tokyo",) it would seem like one could use「への」and「にの」interchangeably... but according to this post by adzusa6543さん, you'll generally want to use「に」when you are talking more about your final destination itself... and use「へ」when you want to somehow include the process or way of getting to your destination.

  • But still, why can you say への? That seems contrived. Also, while the possibility for confusion exists, that shouldn't make it grammatically incorrect, just unfavorable.
    – user3457
    May 12, 2013 at 3:33
  • 1
    guidetojapanese.org/forum/viewtopic.php?id=6809 I suppose this helped-の can be used for stating any subject's possession?
    – user3457
    May 12, 2013 at 4:41
  • 2
    「あなたに私の愛」は、そのままでは my love for/to you とは読めません。少なくとも名詞句としては無理です。「あなたに」や「あなたへ」は、動詞などの「用言」を修飾する形をしているので、体言・名詞は修飾できません。「愛」「私の愛」などの体‌​言・名詞を修飾‌​するためには、「あなたへの」と、(形容詞的に)「体言を修飾できる形」に変えなければいけません。なお、「~~にの」という言い方は、(理由はともあれ、)現代の日本語に存在しませんので、「に」を使うには「あなたに対する」や「あなたのための」などで代用するしかないと思います。(英語で書くのが難しいのですみません><)
    – user1016
    May 12, 2013 at 10:20
  • 1
    I thought a quick translation of Chocolateさん's comment might be helpful: "あなたに私の愛" cannot mean "my love for/to you" as it is. At least, not as a noun phrase. "あなたに" and "あなたへ" are of a form to modify verbs, not nouns. To modify a noun like "愛" or "私の愛" you must use "あなたへの" which can modify nouns. Furthermore, "~にの" does not exist in modern Japanese so if you want to use に you would have to use something like "あなたに対する" or "あなたのための".
    – Robin
    May 12, 2013 at 12:22
  • 1
    From me: I suppose you could think of it as "あなたへ/toward you" and the noun "愛/(my) love" being bound together with の to make "あなたへの愛/(my) love for you" :)
    – Robin
    May 12, 2013 at 12:26

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