What does it mean to put で after a temporal expression? I was taught that only に should be used for times but I still see sentences with で sometimes.

This is basically my current understanding:

  • Spatial: use に for existential verbs and で otherwise

  • Temporal: use に always

This is an example sentence that uses a time+で. How would it be different if it used に?


2 Answers 2


I don't think this is で used as temporal particle. I would read it as でも meaning "either or", "both..." as in AでもBでも.

This applies to all nouns, for example:

English or Japanese, both are OK.

So your sentence could be translated as:

Day or night, you can catch a taxi in Japan.


As Szymon says, you have not given an appropriate example: In your sentence でも is being used to give two options but で can be used to indicate when something finishes or a duration:

-> finishing time:

My work finishes at 5pm.

You could also use に but whereas に is a more general particle that gives the time at which an event occurs (ie when work finishes) the で places more emphasis on the time an activity lasts for.

-> duration:

無色受想行識 wrote this report in three days.

You have not asked about use of に so I assume you know it is not used with all temporal expresssions but, for reference, the general rule is that if the time can be specified with a digit then に is used (eg Xmas day is 25 Dec -> クリスマスに)

Reference: Dictionary of Basic Jpse Grammar

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