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I've been thinking about this for a few days but I still can't figure out what this means. Sorry if this is really beginner-like!

I was wondering what this particular part in a sentence means: にと思って. Example sentence is:

[これは私の新しいレシピだ。]君のお弁当にと思って作ってきたんだ。

(the first sentence is only there for context, the second contains what I want to ask for.)

Please help! I appreciate any answers.

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I assume you know how to use ~と思って, which is "..., thinking ~". Try to read it like this:

「君のお弁当に」と思って作ってきたんだ。

Everything before the quotative-と is a quote (in this context, what he thought). So 君のお弁当に is the content of his thoughts, and it makes sense on its own. The particle に has many functions, one of which is denoting a purpose. It's like English "as ~" or "for ~".

  • プレゼントに人形を買いました。 I bought a doll as a present.
  • 何に使うの? What do you use it for? / What is it for?

Thus the sentence means simply "I made it for/as your bento/lunch.", or more literally, "I made it thinking '(It would be) for your bento.'"

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