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I understand that で is used when referring to the place where an action is taking place. But what about the following sentence?

日本で車が速い。

Since there's no action taking place I would have expected to write 日本に rather than 日本で. But the example I saw used で.

Can somebody please tell me which way is correct and maybe explain why?

  • Good spot. I've only just started with the kanji, but I've fixed the question now. Thanks – user3856370 Jan 28 '15 at 11:58
  • possible duplicate of Particles: に vs. で – broccoli forest Jan 28 '15 at 12:06
  • Just to make sure, this sentence is supposed to mean "In Japan, cars run fast.", right? I'm asking this because I feel this sentence is unnatural whether it's に or で. – naruto Jan 28 '15 at 12:11
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    I don't think that the suggested duplicate is relevant here since this question relates specifically to ending the sentence with an adjective rather than a verb. – user3856370 Jan 28 '15 at 12:38
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    に can be locative only when the predicate stands for (1) generation, (2) continuity and (3) vanishment of existence like 1 生まれる・現れる・咲く, 2 ある etc (as broccoli says), 3 死ぬ・消える. – user4092 Jan 28 '15 at 15:33
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Japanese adjectives (形容詞) form independent predicates, that means, they grammatically act as verbs (速い means "be fast"). Again, all verbs except for ones referring to "staying" (e.g. ある, いる, 住む, 泊まる etc.) mark their locations by . The same thing applies to all word classes (with the help of copula ):

Verb: 日本走る run in Japan
Adjective: 日本安い be inexpensive in Japan
Adjective noun: 日本有名だ be famous in Japan
Noun: 日本英雄だ be a hero in Japan

As an aside, your

日本で車が速い。

doesn't sound natural as a complete sentence, unless you're reporting what happens in front of your eyes (journalists favor it for articles, though). If you simply want to say that "cars are fast in Japan", you'd topicalize one element:

日本で車が速い。 Cars run fast in Japan (neutral / compared to other countries).
日本で車速い。 Cars run fast in Japan (compared to other transportations).

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First of all, 「日本で車が速い。」 seems unnatural to me.
I would use the topic marker and say 「日本では車が速い。」

In Japanese an adjective can be thought of as a verb, as in Klingon.
Think of it as action of "being fast".

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