I think I've only seen this usage in anime and manga so not sure how common it is in real life. Sometimes に seems to be used as "and", usually (always?) with people, e.g. something like:

Well, if it isn't Tanaka and Kuroda!

Is this one of the inherent (but uncommon) meaning of に, some remnant of old grammar like が/の reversal, or something else altogether?


1 Answer 1


This usage of に is not limited to people.

I think に expresses a combination or a meaningful set rather than a simple list. For example, 「ご飯に納豆。」 by itself can imply "Natto goes well with (cooked) rice", whereas 「ご飯と納豆。」 is simply "(It's) rice and natto." In other words, saying に implies the list is somehow incomplete without the remaining unsaid part. In 田中に黒田's case, the sentence slightly emphasizes the fact they came in a twosome, which might be strange or surprising to the speaker. Maybe it's like slightly adding the nuance of "what's more" in English.

I don't think this usage of に is particularly archaic. It sounds rhythmical and emphatic, though. This construction used to emphasize a verb may be relevant.

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