Based off sawa's comment from this question:

"you cannot have two ...に phrases. Remove either."

And using the same verb "同意する", I looked up the dictionary and found:

1.(人)に同意する - to agree with a person

2.(意見・提案・計画など)に同意する - to agree with an opinion/suggestion/plan/etc.

Let's say I agree with a person about an opinion/suggestion/plan that does not necessarily belong to that person. This way I'm not using the genitive-の to connect the parts together as in (人)の(意見・提案・計画)に同意する. Instead I'm trying to express that I agree with a person with something.

Deducing from the above dictionary excerpt, I would form a sentence with two s (Which I now know is wrong from sawa's comment).

Flawed (pun not intended) attempts at constructing the sentence:

x 私は計画に彼に同意します

x この計画が彼に同意します (I just realised that this means "This plan agrees with him" (Unless sarcasm is taken into consideration, this sentence cannot make any sense))

(Question) What would be the proper way to construct this sentence?

  • Just "agreeing with the person" says nothing about what is being agreed on in the absence of context. And "agreeing with something" says nothing about the people who are in agreement in the absence of context. I'm trying to express all of it in a single sentence.
    – Flaw
    Oct 16, 2011 at 15:40
  • 3
    @sawa: you ought to tell why people are wrong. Just saying "wrong" or "ungrammatical" doesn't help, and may lead to further misunderstandings.
    – Axioplase
    Oct 17, 2011 at 2:02
  • 2
    @Flaw: you could say "like you, I agree with this plan". Or "Mr Foo agrees with this plan. So do I." And also, having two "に" in a single sentence is something you can definitely have: 車に乗って、友達を迎えに行った。
    – Axioplase
    Oct 17, 2011 at 2:05
  • 1
    @Axioplase that's because the two に in your sentence serve difference purposes. The first is for indirect object, the second is purpose of action.
    – Flaw
    Oct 17, 2011 at 3:48
  • 1
    @Flaw As I wrote in the hint with the English example, you should change the semantic role of この計画 rather than that of . In that sense, the example in your previous comment was good, but the choice of the particle was wrong. Something like 私はこの計画{で/について/に関して}彼に同意する。 will work.
    – user458
    Oct 17, 2011 at 5:25

3 Answers 3


After doing some reading up, here's what I learned.

Two にs in a sentence like 私は計画に彼に同意します cannot be allowed because 計画 and will share the same thematic role1 if both are assigned に. This causes a problem because 同意する can only assign two roles - Agent(私) and Theme(Either 彼 or 計画)

Breaking down the sentence "I agree with him on this plan." yields:

Main verb: agree

Agent : I

Theme: him

Location (Abstract location): plan

Now using the above, I will try to build the Japanese version of the sentence.

Main verb: 同意する

Agent (marked by は in this case): 私

Theme (marked by に): 彼

Location (marked by で for location of verb action): 計画

Putting them together I'll get 私はこの計画で彼に同意する.

1: Here is a list of the major thematic relations extracted from Wikipedia:

Agent: deliberately performs the action

Experiencer: the entity that receives sensory or emotional input.

Theme: undergoes the action but does not change its state (Sometimes used interchangeably with patient.)

Patient: undergoes the action and changes its state (Sometimes used interchangeably with theme.)

Instrument: used to carry out the action

Force or Natural Cause: mindlessly performs the action

Location: where the action occurs

Direction or Goal: where the action is directed towards

Recipient: a special kind of goal associated with verbs expressing a change in ownership, possession.

Source or Origin: where the action originated

Time: the time at which the action occurs

Beneficiary: the entity for whose benefit the action occurs

Manner: the way in which an action is carried out

Purpose: the reason for which an action is performed

Cause: what caused the action to occur in the first place; not for what, rather because of what

  • I have a feeling that marking a something with に関して or について makes it an adjunct.
    – Flaw
    Oct 18, 2011 at 11:42
  • Just to clarify: each θ-role can only be assigned to one DP/PP/CP (determiner-/ prepositional-/ complementizer phrase). There is never a situation where the same θ-role is being assigned to two に-phrases, especially because に is not a case marker. At best, there is confusion on which に-phrase to assign the θ-role to, but that will depend on the syntactic model you're using. (Some models, for example, would assign θ-role to the に-phrase closest to the verb.)
    – Seralt
    Sep 30, 2014 at 12:35

I disagree with premiss as stated - most real written sentences are composed of clauses containing verbs. You're going to see lots of "に" in a variety of roles. Multiple verbs can mean multiple indirect and direct objects. Yes, each verb has at most one of each, but good luck determining what goes where. Despite my decent vocabulary and grammar knowledge I am frequently stumped by what are surly ordinary news stories. "I agreed with Bob when he said that the plans we had agreed to last year were obsolete, but I can't agree with his attitude" is more Japanese than English.


Three formulations that, I believe, are natural:




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