I still have trouble with how に and で differ when dealing with locations, and I just stumbled across にて. Are these all interchangeable? How are they different?

  • オンラインマーケットにて販売開始しました。
  • オンラインマーケット販売開始しました。
  • オンラインマーケット販売開始しました。
  • I can't seem to make the particles bold, can someone try editing it? Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 5:43
  • 1
    Although that question doesn't specify location context in its title, it's actually almost similar: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/60/particles-vs. The only difference I see here is that this question includes にて, essentially a very formal version of で. Maybe you could just change it to ask for the difference between で and にて?
    – Boaz Yaniv
    Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 11:02
  • After soaking in for a bit I see how similar they are, but I think I still would have asked the question. The answer "In general, で is where an action is performed and に is the "direction" toward/to/into which the result of an action happens" makes sense to me, now. I think the 開始 was tripping me up. The answer on here, "「に」 Selling something to the market" is what made it really clear for me. Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 20:42

2 Answers 2

  • "で" indicates the place of an action, or means by which it is performed
  • "に" indicates the target of the action

In your example, "market" could mean a few things:

  1. physical place
  2. virtual place (for all intents and purposes just another place)
  3. concept of a market (ie. the "thing" we think of when we imagine all those buyers and sellers in the economy)

So the meanings of your examples can be:

  1. "で" Selling something at (ie. location) or through (ie. as a tool) the market.
  2. "に" Selling something to the market (ie. the notional market, made up buyers and sellers, is the target of the action)

A better example to remember the differnces might be as follows:

[You're on a bus, pointing to an empty seat.]

'Can I sit (in that empty seat)?'


'Can I sit (here, where I'm standing whilst asking this question)?'

The first indicates with "に" the target of your desired action.

Whereas the other will make them wonder if you're completely sane, and if not, why you're even bothering to ask for permission to sit on the floor of the bus!!?


My understanding is:

マーケットにて販売開始しました。 ["にて" is just the formal version of "で".]
マーケットに販売開始しました。  [Here, the action is taking place at the market.]
マーケットで販売開始しました。 [Here, the action is taking place in the market.]

Your example is a little difficult because one could be referring to a market you have to physically be in (で), and the other being like an online marketplace ("に"). But in general, "に" and "で" are not interchangeable:

× 図書館に本を読む

  • I think the abstract quality of an online marketplace is more interesting. I'm going to change my question (sorry!). Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 6:06
  • I see a lot of examples along the lines of アプリをApp Storeにて発売開始しました。 Do you think this is a common mistake? Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 6:10
  • heh... if you are seeing that, that is probably correct, but i'm going ot have to get back to you Commented Jun 18, 2011 at 7:04

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