I have seen the next sentences and each one use a different particle

数年以内に: Within a few years

5秒以内で:Within five seconds

Why does one of them use the particle に and the other one で? Could we use the former with で and the latter with に too? If so, does it have to do with the very used or something? I would be very grateful if you could give me some examples too.

Thank you.

  • 3
    What verb follows each phrase respectively? – broccoli facemask - cloth Jan 23 '17 at 15:22
  • ^ そうですね。。次に来る動詞によるような気が・・・あと、これとか→「5分以内帰ってきてください」と「5分以内スピーチをお願いします」では、意味が違う・・・ – Chocolate Jan 24 '17 at 7:38

The two expressions "数年以内に" and "数年以内で" are almost interchangeable each other. However there are slight difference between the two.
















英語のニュアンスは良く知りませんが、「Aボタンを押した後、5秒以内にBボタンを押してください。そうしないと爆発します」を英訳する際に、「5秒以内に」は"within five seconds"でしょうか?あるいは"in five seconds"でしょうか?あるいは"by five seconds"でしょうか?

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One difference that I can think of is:

  • 「(時間)+ 以内 +(動詞)」 -- do something within [period of time] from now
  • 「(時間)+ 以内 +(動詞)」 -- take less than [period of time] to do something

For example:

-- It takes less than 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive there.
-- The ambulance will arrive there within 30 minutes (from now).

「5分以内 (not に) スピーチをしてください。」
-- Please give a speech of up to 5 minutes in length.

「1時間以内 (not で) 1億円を用意しろ、さもなくば娘の命はない。」
-- Come up with 100 million yen within 1 hour (from now), or you'll never see your daughter again.

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I think the point would be the difference of the role between に and で.

When it indicates length, で is used like 一か月で犬小屋を作った(I made a dog house in a month).

When you indicate a point of time, に is used like 明日の朝に会いましょう(Let's meet tomorrow morning).

So When it indicates determinate time like within a month, I feel に indicates a point within time but で indicates a range within time. For example, 一か月以内に海に行きたい is more natural than 一か月以内で海に行きたい because the time he wants to go to the sea is a point of time.

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