Why is に used in a sentence like this?


I thought it was:


I know に is used as an indirect object marker. Could someone tell me the difference between direct and indirect object?

I already understand this usage of the particle:

It is used to show destination of an action


To show an action in a place with semi-permanent or permanent consequences


To show existence in a place


To show a specific time when something happens


To show the agent in passive or verbs of receiving


  • 2
    Could you edit the question to focus on the example at the end? Right now you're asking for a list of all the dozens of ways to use に, but for that you'd be better served by looking at a dictionary entry. A question about this particular example should be fine, though :-)
    – user1478
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:02
  • I changed the question, is it ok?
    – Splikie
    Nov 25, 2015 at 18:13
  • I think it's a lot better now, after your edit and mirka's edit :-)
    – user1478
    Nov 25, 2015 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


You are understanding correctly. This is actually a quirk of the verb 溢れる. It can be used with either a subject (〜が) or with an object (〜に/〜で).

元気 as subject

元気 is overflowing in the 若者

元気 as object

若者 is overflowing with 元気

Just remember that when you are talking about something that is overflowing literally and not figuratively, you should put it as a subject:

  • コップから水溢れている Water is overflowing from the cup
  • コップが水溢れている ← unnatural

There are other verbs like this that can be used both ways, for example:

  • 満ちる → 月満ちる / (心が)喜び満ちる
  • 欠ける → 歯欠ける / (彼は)常識欠ける
  • When does が mark the direct object? I know it does with potential of verb like 好き 嬉しい... Are there other cases. Also Can you explain how is に used as an indirect complement? For example here:マフィアは隠れ蓑に合法的な事業を展開している。I would have used として since 隠れ蓑に is not the recipient of an action.
    – Splikie
    Nov 25, 2015 at 20:09
  • @Splikie Those are good questions, but unfortunately I think they require explanations that are too long for a comment. The 隠れ蓑 example is pretty interesting. You might want to post them as separate questions :)
    – mirka
    Nov 25, 2015 at 20:14
  • @Splikie Sorry, I made a huge mistake about the usage. I meant subject, not direct object.
    – mirka
    Nov 25, 2015 at 21:41
  • With some verb it does mark the Direct object though. 僕に新聞が読める 僕は貴方が好き 僕にはその本の内容が分かる
    – Splikie
    Nov 25, 2015 at 21:47
  • 1
    There is such a thing as が-marked objects (called "nominative objects" in the literature). I write briefly about them here: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/26005/… Nov 26, 2015 at 3:16

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