What's the difference between their に and が in these sentences?




  • 1
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    – ajsmart
    Aug 31, 2017 at 13:08
  • I think these essentially mean the same thing, however "に" feels much more common, and が may be incorrect in this context. I think the reason is because が before できる would usually indicate what can be done, not who can do it (ex: 仕事が出来る)
    – Locksleyu
    Aug 31, 2017 at 13:47
  • 「私ができることがあれば何でも言ってください」 sounds a little bit strange. Ask me anything if you have something that only I can do (other people can not do the task). On the other hand,「私にできることがあれば何でも言ってください」 Ask me anything if you have something that I can do (probably other people can do the task, too).
    – user25382
    Sep 1, 2017 at 0:20
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    Either will do. They are not particularly different. If any, the one with に feels somehow more orthodox because it has been used since earlier time.
    – user4092
    Sep 1, 2017 at 1:23
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    Possible duplicate: が and に interchangeability and difference in meaning
    – Flaw
    Sep 2, 2017 at 4:48

1 Answer 1


(1) 私できることがあれば何でも言ってください。
(2) 私できることがあれば何でも言ってください。

  • Sentence (1) and (2) have nearly the same meaning, and they make sense.
  • (1) is commonly used but (2) is rarely used in the situation where offering one's help to others.
  • Compared to (1), there is a nuance in (2) that the speaker is arrogant. Conversely, (1) is very modest about the attitude of the offering help compared to (2).
  • The nuance of modesty that the sentence of (1) has depends on "に" in it. According to jisho.org, the definition of "に" in this sentence corresponds to "in the role of" of 6 written below.

6の意味で「私できることがあれば」を丁寧に解釈すると、 「色々な人があなたへ色々な種類の援助できると思いますが、その中で、私にふさわしい役割としてできることがあれば」と言う意味になります。
If I carefully interpret the phrase "私できることがあれば" in the sense of "in the role of" for "に", the phrase would be like:
"I think that various people can offer various kinds of assistance to you, but if there is something that could be done as a suitable role for me".

The difinition of に in jisho.org here:

1. at (place, time); in; on; during​
2. to (direction, state); toward; into
3. for (purpose)​
4. because of (reason); for; with
5. by; from​
6. as (i.e. in the role of) ​See also として
7. per; in; for; a (e.g. "once a month")​
8. and; in addition to​
9. if; although​
10. Ni(kana) に、二