I came across this example in Genki I


And I was wondering about the use of に here and if we can replace it with で to make


Is it correct? Please explain if possible. And thank you in advance.


2 Answers 2


For 座る, the place where (or object on which) one sits is marked with に. I would say that

  • ~の近くで座る is unnatural
  • ~の近くに座る is natural.


Verbs which are inherently linked to a location — such as 行く, 住む, いる, etc. — have this location marked by .

Verbs for which the location is only circumstantial (i.e. additional information) — such as 食べる, 遊ぶ, 勉強する, etc. — have this location marked by .

Numerical evidence

The Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese (BCCWJ) contains no instances of 近くで+座る. It does contain some instances of で+座る, but none of these use で to mark the location where the sitting takes place...

Case study 寝る

One interesting verb to look at for the difference between に and で is 寝る. The numbers in BCCWJ are ambiguous:

  • に+寝る 1,337 results
  • で+寝る 1,222 results

However, 寝る has two common meanings

  1. 横たわる to lie down
  2. 眠る to sleep

and the choice between に and で is not as ambiguous as the rough numbers would suggest. For 寝る "to sleep", the location is circumstantial/additional information and should be marked with で; for 寝る "to lie down", the location is inherent to the meaning of the verb and should be marked with に.

A: Cさんまだ起きている?
B: いや、ベンチ寝ている。

  • 1
    Thank you a ton 😩🌻I finally get it. And sorry this is such a late reply for some reason i wasnt notified on my email of it. Thanks again.
    – ラザン
    Jan 10, 2018 at 15:04
  • @Earthlin Not considering the original sentence i.e. not considering the use of まどの近くで座っています question laid above. I wanted to ask that, if the question would have been what are you doing near the window (and not where are you), would the use of で in the answer 窓の近くで座っています been grammatical? As now the focus shifted from direction (i.e. from where you are) to what are you doing (focus on action)?
    – APK
    Aug 14, 2020 at 16:51
  • or should we go by the inherent meaning of the verb i.e. positional (i.e. focus of action (i.e. (で) or inherent linkage to position (に) if the question is what are you doing near the window)?
    – APK
    Aug 14, 2020 at 17:03
  • 1
    Adding on to the numerical evidence part of it, I checked the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, Japan's directory, which consists of inter-alia sources such as; books, magazines, web pages etc. Therein I found only 461 uses with で座る out of 8,732 hits, with particle before 座る, wherein 5,400 were with に座る,. Wherein, out of those, 461 searches, 90 were 足で座る(which is an altogether different aspect of で), I also, checked out 50 more, but they were completely different uses of で, and many were remotely connected with で, Link: nlb.ninjal.ac.jp/headword/V.00165
    – APK
    Aug 17, 2020 at 7:39


(1) 窓{まど}の近く座っています。
(2) 窓{まど}の近く座っています。

I'll answer the question based on the explanation here.
Both (1) and (2) are correct.
However, the nuance is slightly different.
(1) means "the place where you are sitting" is "near the window", while (2) means that the place where the act of "sitting" is done is "near the window".

The "point" of the difference between "に" and "で" is the verb that comes after each of them.

The case particle "に" is used in the case of the verb of existence.
The case particle "で" is used in the case of a verb of action/conduct.

Therefore, the following construction of a sentence is a principle.

However, there are verbs in which both "に" and "で" are used as follows.

作{つく}る, 生{う}まれる, 育{そだ}つ, 消{き}える, 暮{く}らす, 建{た}てる, 投{な}げる, etc.

"座る" in the example sentence presented by the questioner is also a verb that both case particles can be used.

In the case of verbs in which both case particles can be used, "で" represents action/conduct and "に" can represent existence/place.
More strictly speaking, "に" would mean that the result of the action (the result of conduct) is realized there.

I'll show example sentences using verbs that could be attached to both case particles of "で" and "に" as follows.

新{あたら}しい施設{しせつ}が中国{ちゅうごく}のテレビ工場{こうじょう}作{つく}られた。… The place where the facilities were "constructed" is in the TV factory in China.
このテレビは中国の工場作られた。… The act of making "televisions" was done in China.

田舎{いなか}暮{く}らす。… It is a "田舎 countryside" where the act of "living" is done.
田舎暮らす。… The place where someone is "living" is a countryside.

森{もり}家{いえ}を建{た}てた。… The act of building a house was done in the forest. There is not necessarily the house in the forest.
家を建てた。… The place where a house was built is a forest.

河原{かわら}石{いし}を投{な}げる。… It is "河原 riverbed" that the act of "投げる throwing" a stone is done. No one knows where the stone is.
河原石を投げる。… The place as the target of "throwing" a stone is "河原 riverbed". The stone should be on the riverbed.




(1) 窓の近く座っています。
(2) 窓の近く座っています。


(1) は、「座っている」場所が「窓の近く」と言う意味で、(2) は、「座る」という行為が行われた場所が「窓の近く」という意味です。


  • 格助詞「に」は、存在性の動詞の場合に使われます。
  • 格助詞「で」は、動作・行為性の動詞の場合に使われます。














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