Can you help me understand/correct my understanding of the particles from this sentence?


So literally this means "I + that man/person + always + sensei + call"?

  1. Is it "I have always called that man Sensei"?
  2. What does に serve as in this sentence?
  3. What does と serve as in this sentence?
  4. What's でいた?


  • 5
    こんでいた -- ? It's [呼]{よ}んでいた, no? It's from 漱石's こころ, right?
    – chocolate
    Jul 2, 2018 at 14:05
  • 1
    Hint on #4: Verb conjugation. In combination with the comment above, it should be easier.
    – ajsmart
    Jul 2, 2018 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


I think your translation is roughly correct but there appear to have been some misunderstanding of the grammar:

  • に is not a particle in this case: it is used for making 常{つね}に an adverb.

  • と has several uses as a particle (in addition to being “and”): It can be used when an action is done “with” a person where it would be used like 先生{せんせい}と食{た}べた “I ate with [my] teacher”. It is also used to mark quotes as for ~と言{い}う “I say that...” and ~と思{おも}う “I think that...”. I’m not familiar with this verb but と could also be marking a quote here.

  • いた is the plain-past form of いる/います “to exist” (animate) objects. It it used with the て-form of verbs (some verbs use で) for ongoing (present participle) or habitual (regularly occurring) actions. In this case it is a habitual action performed in the past.


I used to always call that person “my teacher/mentor” (regularly)

While there are some good grammatical examples in this sentence, many of these have been covered in previous questions. Please use more specific grammatical questions in the future.

  • 1
    "と is used when an action is done “with” a person. So it’s “I called with [my] teacher/mentor”." This is the quotation usage of と, no?
    – Leebo
    Jul 3, 2018 at 0:55
  • This is often confused with で but I think the use quoted in the question is correct (unless it’s the same usage as 「先生」と言います but I’d expect quote marks then). Sorry I don’t understand your comment.
    – Tom Kelly
    Jul 3, 2018 at 0:59
  • 3
    と is used when an action is done “with” a person. So it’s “I called with [my] teacher/mentor”. <--- これに対して、Leebo さんは「ちゃうちゃう」っていったんでしょう。
    – chocolate
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:04
  • 1
    と here marks the thing that the subject calls the person. It doesn't represent an action done together. Regardless of if you use quotation marks or not. It's the same usage as in と思う.
    – Leebo
    Jul 3, 2018 at 1:05
  • 2
    @Amber How is this the best answer? The answerer is not even familiar with all of the words used in the sentence.
    – user4032
    Jul 3, 2018 at 8:51

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