I need help understanding why にとって cannot be used in this circumstance:

その仕事は私{には/*にとって}出来ない。 ( * denotes unacceptable)

This is what I read:

にとって cannot be used when it marks an experiencer or agent

But I get confused when this sentence is acceptable:


Isn't 我々 an agent? 我々 is the one who is doing the ignoring right? So what am I understanding wrongly?

  • I cannot answer exactly when にとって can be used, but it might be useful to compare these sentences with an unacceptable case これは我々にとって無視できない。 Jan 1, 2012 at 16:46
  • I probably have to wait for sawa to come and rescue me for this one. I suspect it has to do with some things that にとって does syntactically that is different from には.
    – Flaw
    Jan 1, 2012 at 17:04
  • Also compare with これは我々にとって問題だ (acceptable).
    – Hyperworm
    Jan 1, 2012 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


にとって 'As from the point of view of ' is a sentence modifier. The sentence has to be meaningful without it, and it implies that its truth depends on whose point of view it is described from.

'This is a(n) (unignorable) problem.'

'For us, this is a(n) (unignorable) problem.'

これは、我我にとって、(無視できない)問題だ  [これは can be moved to the front.]
'Regarding this, from the point of view of us, it is a(n) (unignorable) problem.'

in question here is a dative case marker, which optionally marks the subject of the embedded clause of a potential verb.

'We ignore this.'

[我我{が/}これを無視]できる [する is deleted before できる due to the irregularity of potential form.]
'It is possible that we ignore this.'

これは、我我{が/}無視できる  [これは can be topicalized and moved to the front.]
'Regarding this, it is possible that we ignore it.'

As usual in Japanese, the subject can be omitted, and be understood implicitly:

'It is possible that we ignore this.'

Attaching にとって to this sentence does not work semantically because the possibility is independent of the point of view.

* 我我にとって、これは(我我{が/})無視できる
 'For us, it is possible that we ignore this.'

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