I realize that an explanation of when to use に or で must be everywhere on this site but i have a rather peculiar question on this topic.

For me alot of things in japanese atart out as "memorize this" and eventually much later actually understand whats going on.

One thing i have noticed is that the to に or で topic for me at least has been become somewhat based on logic and largely based on just memorizing whether to に or で for literally every verb i know.

The logic portion of my brain has been able to make the following deductions and i would like to know if they are actually true.

1) を particles seem to take exclusively で for locations.

2) if you cant find a way to put a を particle into the sentence then it must use the に particle.

(This statement is twofold, as i am asserting that certain particles which must use が like ある and いる must always use a ni particle.

But i am also asserting that if theres nothing to logically use the を or が particle on that the statement must use に basically im saying if the thing you would normally use を on becomes something you would use the by means of で on instead it must use に.)

Obviously there are some structures like eru or rareru that can change a を to a が and i want to exclude all those cases from my above statements.

It is of course impossible for both my assumtions to be true. I know they cannot be because its incredibly straight forward and simple; and i have read many textbooks and articles on the subject and the best of them can only be described as an pathetic attempt to sort of maybe kinda think about almost trying to explaining something with any attempt at being definitive.

So my questions are when do you need to use に with the を particle?

Secondly when must you use で with a verb that can only use the particle が. Things such as conjugations that change を particles to が dont count. As well as verbs who you can interchange を and が to emphasized the noun are also off limits.

Although i doubt this will complely answer my question of when to に or when to で. I feel it may allow me to reduce it to a problem of "is it possible that i could replace that が particle with a を particle and not drastically alter the sentence's meaning." It would at least be a vast improvement over memorizing every fking verbs particle.


を/が are only indirectly connected to で/に. The problem is compounded by the fact that に and で both have multiple uses.

  • で is used for instruments (I was eating with a fork, I came by bus, I spoke in English)
  • で is used for locations of actions (I am eating at a restaurant, I am running in the park)
  • に is used as a recipient (I gave the dog to Moa)
  • に is used as a destination (I am walking into the park)
  • に is used as an adverb marker (Please read quietly)
  • に is used as an agent in a passive sentence (I was punched into the shoulder by Moa)
  • に is used as a location of states (I am sat at a restaurant, I live in Tokyo)

I believe you are confused about the last one of each, location of actions vs location of states. While states typically don't have objects (which accounts for your observation that を doesn't go with に), actions may or may not have objects:

  • レストランで食べました I ate at the restaurant
  • レストランでステーキを食べました I ate steak at the restaurant

States are typically verbs of position (standing, sitting, lying...) and verbs of location (being at, living at, floating...), unless I'm forgetting something, so the list of verbs using に for location is rather limited. Pretty much all other verbs express actions, and use で for location.

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  • Your answer really helped me. Though it didnt quite answer verbs that must use が seem to mostly use ni situation for me. However it defintly made it a bit clearer on the sentences that can use ga but dont have to. Thanks – Faust Aug 6 '19 at 20:03
  • There is no "verbs that must use が". You could say either that all verbs can use がand you could say that no verbs need to use が since it might not be overtly expressed, so I don't know what you mean here. Can you clarify? – Amadan Aug 7 '19 at 4:38
  • You cannot say ねこ を います. Or ペン を あります. – Faust Aug 7 '19 at 4:40
  • There are more ill write them out when i get home. – Faust Aug 7 '19 at 4:41
  • That's correct, there are verbs that do not permit を; but this has nothing to do with が. There are no verbs that require が: both います and あります (without が) are perfectly valid sentences (given appropriate context). There are also no verbs where が is not allowed: ステーキを食べた and モアがステーキを食べた are both okay. – Amadan Aug 7 '19 at 4:49

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