5

デメテルに続いて言葉を連ねる女神たち、ヘスティアは微妙な顔付きをした。

vs

デメテルに続いて言葉を連ねる女神たちに対して、ヘスティアは微妙な顔付きをした。

What is the difference between these two sentences? In what cases can you use に to replace に対して?

Thanks!

1

While the two sentences mean practically the same thing, there exists a (subtle) difference in nuance between the two.

「Noun/Pronoun + に[対]{たい}して + Verb/Adjective Phrase」

would express at least a somewhat higher degree of intention or purpose behind the action/state being described and/or more active involvement by the person than the following phrase does:

「Noun/Pronoun + + Verb/Adjective Phrase」

I might add that the difference explained above is often very subtle. Thus, if you really wanted to express a higher (or lower) magnitude of your intention or involvement, you should probably do so by adding words to the Verb/Adjective Phrase such as 「とても」, 「[非常]{ひじょう}に」, 「[本当]{ほんとう}に」, etc. along with 「~~に対して」.

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