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As far as I know, 「サークルで使う」 means "To spend (money) on a circle club". However I don't figure out why the particle で is used instead of に, since I have seen so many examples of "to spend on sth" and I would say that all or at least most of them the particle 「に」 is used instead.

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The meaning of 「サークルで使う」 and 「サークルに使う」 is different from each other.

As you know, 「Xに使う」 is a common way to say "to spend on X". The 「に」 indicates the target of 「使う」. So, to have the meaning you expected, 「サークルに使う」 is preferable.

On the other hand, the meaning of 「で」 in 「サークルで使う」, in this case, is likely to be for the place, the time or the situation in which the action (「使う」 here) occurs. In this case, 「サークルで使う」 is "to spend during(/as part of) a club activity."


By the way, is there any context around this 「サークルで使う」? This single sentence does not necessarily indicate what is spent is money. Since 「で」 has many meanings, the meaning described above would be wrong in a certain context.

  • Take another look at the last word used in the two sentences. – JACK Jan 29 '17 at 16:24
  • Thank you for your detailed answer, I really understand what you mean. The context is about a survey which states differents アルバイトの目的 like 「生活のゆとりがほしい」、「洋服が買いたい」、「生活費」、etc. Among them サークルで使う. So what would you say it is the real meaning? – Dante404 Jan 30 '17 at 14:45
  • @Dante404 Yeah, in this case the meaning of 「サークルで使う」 should be what I described in my answer: "to spend (/ use) as part of a club activity." – Faily Feely Jan 30 '17 at 15:44

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