a) 日光は運動場いっぱいでした。
b) 日光は運動場いっぱいでした。
c) 運動場は日光でいっぱいでした。
The sports field was filled with sunlight.

a) is the original sentence from my book. I've been warned that the author is a bit loose with his grammar so I'm suspicious about this sentence. Is a) grammatically correct? Is it colloquially acceptable? Or is it just weird? I expected to see a が like in b).

Also I wouldn't have gone with either a) or b). I'd have constructed sentence c). Is this correct? Does it feel different?

I wonder if it might be important to note that the sports field was being discussed in the previous sentence. There was no previous discussion of sunlight.


If we look at an online dictionary: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E4%B8%80%E6%9D%AF-434512

We can notice one thing, when いっぱい is used without a particle, it is used as a noun.

4 金1両。 「祝儀は女郎へ、壱分を二三十粒、宿へ三歩あるいは金―」〈浮・元禄大平記・五〉

5 名詞の下に付き、接尾語的に用いて、限度ぎりぎりまで、の意を表す。「精一杯働く」「時間一杯考える」「腹一杯食べる」 > This one

So in combination with another noun, it forms what we can translate as an adverb/expression. It basically means "until the limits", so we could understand the first sentence as:

日光は運動場いっぱいでした。: sunlight was playground-full

It doesn't make much sense said this way, but basically, what is being described in the sentence is 日光, and what we say about it is that it was いっぱい until the limits of the 運動場.

Whereas your sentence B:


Describes 日光, but what was いっぱい is not the 日光, but rather the 運動場, so the particle が completely changes the meaning of the sentence, and it doesn't make much sense anymore. (at least to me)

Note that we could maybe turn this sentence into something by assuming that 日光 is the name of a city, and not the word for "sunlight".

As for your third sentence:

運動場は日光でいっぱいでした。: The stadium was full of light

It is correct, but as you can see it doesn't really mean the same thing as the two other sentences. Here what is being described is the 運動場 and not the 日光 itself.

  • Thanks for your answer. Are you content that sentence a) is grammatical and that my translation to English is reasonable? User @Eri seems to think it makes no sense. I don't know what to think anymore. Anyway, here's a link if it helps: aozora.gr.jp/cards/000081/files/462_15405.html – user3856370 Nov 19 '18 at 19:30
  • The first sentence is perfectly grammatical, and your translation is okay, not perfectly accurate but it's fine. As for what they meaning, I cover it in my answer, so you decide if it makes sense to you or not, but your sentences are all grammatical. – user31974 Nov 19 '18 at 20:07

First of all, neither a) nor b) is correct. Those two just make no sense. If you want to say "The sports field was filled with sunlight", c) is grammatically correct, but sounds unnatural. When you use でいっぱい, while it is natural to say "会場は観客でいっぱいでした" for "The hall was filled with audience." , we don't usually use "日光でいっぱい" as a meaning of "filled with sunlight". If you want to say the above sentence, it would be "運動場には日光がいっぱい降り注いでいました".

But, is there any possibilities that 日光 is used as a meaning of a name of a city in that context? You might have already know but 日光 is a famous city in Japan. If so, b) comes to make sense while it is still not grammatically perfect. In this case, it means "日光 had a lot of sports field." I'm not sure the city actually did so, though...

  • Thanks for your reply. I'm now very confused. I'm almost certain that it does not refer to the name of a city and your translation would make no sense in context. Here's a link to the text. You don't have to read far to get to the part I quoted: aozora.gr.jp/cards/000081/files/462_15405.html – user3856370 Nov 19 '18 at 19:20
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    Saying a that a) and b) are not correct is a very bold statement. I agree that b) wouldn't make much sense if 日光 wasn't about the city, but the grammar is not incorrect, so it would at most be wrong semantically. But as for the first and last sentence, they are correct and we can see these patterns used in other situations – user31974 Nov 19 '18 at 20:17
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    Sorry for confusing. Over all, @CSPP's answer is correct. Now that I know you quoted this sentence from the novel of Kenji Miyazawa, I would say a) can be translated to yours, and more precisely to the one in CSPP's answer. But, Iet me mention here as a native Japanese speaker, that a) makes sense just because it is used in the classical novel and especially in the writing of Kenji Miyazawa. It's not an archaism, but it's a very literary and poetic expression. Therefore, if you use this sentence in daily conversation or writings, it sounds wierd unless you are a novelist or poets. – EPRAIT Nov 20 '18 at 0:18
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    Sorry for my poor explanation in English, but hope it helps you to understand. Thanks! – EPRAIT Nov 20 '18 at 0:19
  • @Eri It helps thanks. I know that context is often important but in this case I thought it was just a simple sentence. I was very wrong. – user3856370 Nov 20 '18 at 16:24

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