I found this example in a japanese textbook:

  • 外を歩いている人はみんな傘をさしています: Everyone is using umbrellas outside.

Why is を in that sentence?, and because it is a japanese textbook I doubt that it is inconrrect, shouldn't be like this?

  • 外に歩いている人は傘をさしています


2 Answers 2


Verb of movement can take を to express the idea of moving about within that space. So here, 外を歩いている expresses the idea of "walk around outside". In a similar vein 空を飛ぶ means "to fly through the sky".

外に歩く isn't quite grammatical in the sense which you seem to have in mind; instead it means "to walk toward the outside". It would be better to say, 外で歩く but it doesn't have quite the same feel as 外を歩いている. 外で歩く seems to suggest that there are other places where you could have chosen to walk--maybe you're at a convention and you could walk inside the convention center or outside. But, 外を歩いている carries a connotation of walking about outside with perhaps no particular destination in mind.

  • Thanks for the answer, I would love to found more information and examples about this particular use of the を particle Jun 20, 2017 at 4:27
  • 外に歩く can mean "to walk toward the outside (of the building, etc)".
    – naruto
    Jun 20, 2017 at 4:57
  • @naruto Yes. I guess I should actually add that detail. Thank you.
    – A.Ellett
    Jun 20, 2017 at 4:58

There are no methods to distinguish exceptions, or how to distinguish between "Nを" and "Nに" clearly.

外を歩く: "他に働きかける"動詞に接続 Walk in the outdoor space. * 頂上を目指す * 人を愛する

外に歩く: "他に働きかける"動詞に接続 but 方向性が見られる場合がある Walk in the direction of the outdoor space. * 写真に撮る * 図に表す


  • 1
    そのサイトの4-3-3に、『次のような「移動」を表す動詞は「Nを」をとりますが、自動詞とするのがふつうです。 歩道を歩きます 川を渡ります 家を出ます これらの「Nを」は「場所」であって、「対象」とはいえないと考えるからです。』 と書いてあるように、「歩く」は自動詞であって、「他に働きかける動詞」ではないのでは? geocities.jp/niwasaburoo/04dousibun.html#4.3
    – chocolate
    Jun 20, 2017 at 5:28

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