I understand that 'no naka' means 'in' or 'inside', but how does the meaning change when 'ni' is placed after it? For example:

Hako no naka - inside the box.

Hako no naka ni - ???

  • Do you mean to ask what the に particle means in general (the place where something is), or specifically in this case? – Mathieu Bouville Feb 4 '19 at 12:18
  • 2
    I would translate 'hako no naka' as 'the inside of a/the box', not 'inside the box', as there is not enough context to even presume the box actually contains anything. – BJCUAI Feb 4 '19 at 14:56
  • @MathieuBouville Specifically this case. – user30175 Feb 4 '19 at 19:09

箱{はこ}の中{なか} (hako no naka) simply means "the box's inside". It says nothing about the relationship between the inside of the box and another entity, e.g.

箱の中は広{ひろ}い。 (hako no naka wa hiroi.)
The inside of the box is spacious.

箱の中に (hako no naka ni) means "in the box's inside". It describes how another entity relates to the inside of the box, e.g.

箱の中は大{おお}きな象{ぞう}がいる。(hako no naka ni wa ookina zou ga iru)
There's a large elephant inside the box.

  • Alright, so 'ni' is being used in a location sense here? – user30175 Feb 4 '19 at 22:52
  • Yes. That's right. – user3856370 Feb 5 '19 at 7:56

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