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Usage of particle で and に have been causing me quite some difficulties from the beginning (I keep on using で instead of に and vice versa). From what I've learned so far, particle で indicates either where an action is taking place or by what means.

So how come で is being used with...全部... to mean "in all there is.."?

I would rather write it at as :

  • この問題用紙は全部、8ページあります。 or,
  • この問題用紙は全部に8ページがあります。(Maybe I'm interpreting に particle too literally here)

Also, is the usage of particle が optional when stating 'there is something', so using あります? This was the first example I've seen that didn't use particle が with あります。 (As some might have recognized, this example is from a JLPT test, so there isn't a possibility it was just omitted)

I would appreciate it if someone can translate what my versions of the sentences would mean (この問題用紙は全部、8ページがあります。and この問題用紙は全部に8ページがあります。), so I'd be able to compare them and maybe understand better. Thank you!

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「この問題用紙{もんだいようし}は全部{ぜんぶ}8ページあります。」

The 「で」 here is used to describe what the standard (or limitation) is for the object being talked about. In Japanese, the shorter the words, the more meanings they have. 「で」 is no exception and I recommend that you look it up in a monolingual dictionary in the near future.

In the meantime, however, it would also be important that you learn that 「全部で」, as a phrase, means "in total".

In the sentence in question, no other word can replace the 「で」. Particles are far more stubborn and inflexible than Japanese-learners wish that they were.

"The question sheets consist of 8 pages in total."

is what the sentence means.

Your sentences:

1) この問題用紙は全部、8ページあります。

2) この問題用紙は全部8ページあります。

I am afraid that neither sentence makes much sense. As an owner of a Japanese-speaking mind, I have no idea why you are using a 「が」.

Upon hearing/seeing 「8ページ」, most Japanese-speakers would think, as I would, that you were talking about "page 8" of a book of some kind -- as in "Page 8 is very interesting.". In describing the quantity/volume, 「8ページ」 sounds very "off". Thus, it is not a question of the 「が」 being optional or not; It is simply incorrect to use it.

For this reason, both of your sentences do not really mean anything. But they could be taken to mean the strangest thing.

Both "could" be taken to mean:

"All these sets of question sheets contain page 8."

which is nonsensical.

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で has multiple meanings. Unit or standard for calculation is one ([6] in this page: https://kotobank.jp/jeword/%E3%81%A7).

As for problems of your examples, first, 8ページ is, usually and in this case too, an adverb. So, saying 8ページが is as unnatural, I believe, as "Today is rain" instead of "It's rain today".

Second, に combined with verb ある stands for a location where the contents of the clause(8ページある) takes place. In short, この問題用紙は全部に8ページある means that all the sets of the exam papers (of a specific type, which singular この stands for) consist of 8 pages each.

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    as unnatural... as "Today is rain" instead of "It's rain today" -- It's rain today も自然ではないですよね。。。 – Chocolate Apr 5 '18 at 11:09
  • "It's rainy" だったっけ? – user4092 Apr 5 '18 at 23:28
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This で is explained as "a condition/situation marker".

  • テニスで彼女に勝った。
  • 寝不足で仕事に行った。
  • 往復で2万円かかった。

全部 without で would mean "all/everything" rather than "in all". Anyway, basically 全部で is a set phrase you should learn by rote. Basic function words like で/に/in/with are often unpredictable, after all.

You should not insert が after 8ページ. Japanese numbers work adverbially, e.g., リンゴが5個あります, 本を3冊買いました, ビールを2杯ください.

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