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I'm pretty confused about the particle and I hope to receive some clarification.


1.彼は私に本をくれました。

2.私は母にしかられた。


In the first sentence, the particle is used to indicate the target, which is . So I know the sentence means "He gave me the book."

However, the particle is used to indicate the source in the second sentence, so it means "I was scolded by my mother."

So my question is, how can I tell if the particle is indicating a target or a source? Do I have to solely rely on context? Or am I having a major misunderstanding of the particle itself here?

  • 叱られる is the passive form of the verb 叱る. guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/causepass – strawberry jam Apr 2 '16 at 13:29
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    @strawberryjam So does the に particle only indicates the source when a passive verb is used? Or does it also apply to causative verbs...? – Lin Apr 2 '16 at 14:47
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    That's a different question altogether. It's too broad to explain in 1 answer as well. I suggest reviewing past questions on this topic: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/particle-ni – strawberry jam Apr 2 '16 at 14:57
  • @strawberryjam I see, thanks for the advice. It looks like the に particle is a lot more ambiguous than I thought. – Lin Apr 2 '16 at 15:22
  • You have to judge it from context. – user4092 Jun 8 '16 at 10:34
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If you are using a passive verb (a verb that ends in られる), に is generally used as the Source. If it's a verb that is not passive (such as 行く), に would be the target/destination particle. Context clues help as well. It makes sense to eat a McDonald's hamburger (マックを食べる) than to be eaten by one (マックに食べられる).

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    マク -> 普通は、「マック」ですかね・・ (関西では「マクド」ですけど) – Chocolate Jun 8 '16 at 8:09
  • Right, so in America we eat "McDonalds", but that sounds funny in japanese. When I say マク in this case, I am referring to a hamburger, or "Big mac". – Retro Gamer Jun 8 '16 at 14:46
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    Hmm? Sorry I don't really understand what you're trying to say, I just thought the マク in your post was a typo; we Japanese usually call McDonald's as マック in Kanto, マクド in Kansai, we don't call it マク, and we also often say マックを食べる in Kanto or マクドを食べる in Kansai to mean "eat a McDonald's hamburger." – Chocolate Jun 8 '16 at 15:05
  • Oh i see. Ill edit my answer to clear up the confusion. Thank you very much! – Retro Gamer Jun 8 '16 at 15:07
  • Can you say マクドに食べに行きます? – debrucey Jun 8 '16 at 15:53

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