3

Consider the following:

To disappear in an instant:

  1. 一瞬でなくなる
  2. 一瞬にしてなくなる

To change overnight:

  1. 一夜で変わる*
  2. 一夜にして変わる

  3. 一晩で変わる

  4. 一晩にして変わる*

I was unable to find example sentences containing 一夜で and 一晩にして on WWWJDIC's example search which is why I marked 3 and 6 with asterisks.

My choice of verbs なくなる and 変わる are entirely arbitrary and are there to make the phrase sound complete. (I did not purposefully select verbs to complement the time expression, and if my chosen verbs are iffy please substitute them accordingly)

(Questions)

  • When is で used and when is にして used?
  • What is the difference between 1 and 2 above?
  • Are phrases 3 through 6 possible?
  • Is the choice between で and にして limited by the kind of time expression that comes before it, or are they idiosyncratic? (i.e. unique to a particular way of saying and there's no justification or predictable rule)
  • Is the choice between で and にして limited by the kind of verbs that comes after the time adverbs, or are they idiosyncratic?
3

Sentences 1–6 are all natural, but ~にして is more nuanced and emphatic. See: Difference between 六歳にして and 六歳で. Note that N歳にして does not necessarily mean someone is surprisingly young; you can also say 80歳にしてエベレストに登頂する, for example.

Let me address the remaining parts of your question.

Is the choice between で and にして limited by the kind of time expression that comes before it, or are they idiosyncratic?

N歳にして is fine regardless of the value of N. You can say N年目にして, too. However, I feel N日にして, N夜にして and N晩にして are unnatural if N is not one (i.e., We don't usually say 3日にして, 5夜にして). People usually say something like たった3日で or わずか2晩で instead. I'm not familiar with 一週間にして and 一年にして, either. Don't ask me why.

Is the choice between で and にして limited by the kind of verbs that comes after the time adverbs

I don't think so. You can combine it with any verb, for example 一日にしてビルが建った, 一晩にして論文を書き上げた, 一瞬にしてHPが回復した, and so on.

  • is にて contraction of にして? – personanongrata Nov 7 '18 at 18:15
  • 1
    @personanongrata No, you cannot say 1日にて, etc. – naruto Nov 7 '18 at 18:54

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