I'm reading a book, and I found this:


Now, why are に and と used together? I can understand the function of に (meaning "at", I suppose, if お祝い means "celebration"), but what is the meaning of と?

I also think that the meaning of the whole sentence depends on the meaning that we want to give to this お祝い, since it can be "celebration", but also "celebration gift".

So, to conclude, what is the role of these に and と after お祝い? and how would you translate this in English?


2 Answers 2


So you're essentially asking the difference between these two sentences:

  • (1) 店長が私に、二十歳のお祝いカメラをプレゼントしてくれた。
  • (2) 店長が私に、二十歳のお祝いにとカメラをプレゼントしてくれた。

Here, the に after お祝い is a role/function marker ("as" or "for" in English). It's the same に as in お土産に切手を買う, 彼を助手に雇う, お詫びにランチを奢る, etc. This に is not a place marker because, 1) to mark the place where some action takes place, you have to use で, not に, and, 2) while お祝い can refer to a formal event, we usually say お祝い会 or お祝いの席 for that purpose. (In addition, did this character really have a party and invite the shop manager? That's not something Japanese people commonly do...) It's not a time marker because 二十歳のお祝い does not represent time (while 誕生日 does).

This と is a quotative-と. That is, Sentence (2) means 二十歳のお祝いに was something actually said by the 店長. So (2) is basically the same as the following sentence:

  • (3) 店長が私に「二十歳のお祝いに」と(言って)、カメラをプレゼントしてくれた。
    Saying "(I'll give this to you) as the celebration", the manager gave me a camera.

The omitted verb after と is not 思って but 言って because this happened when he actually gave the camera. Of course you usually do not have to translate the sentence verbosely like (3). Although Sentences (1) and (2) are slightly different in Japanese, they may be translated into English the same way.

  • Does saying 「プレゼントしてくれたカメラ」 instead of 「カメラをプレゼントしてくれた」 have any difference? I'm aware that such form can be ambiguous, but while I can easily understand the latter with the translation you gave, I'm having a hard time understanding the former (which sounds to me like "The camera the manager gave to me", rather than "The manager gave me a camera").
    – Mauro
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 12:58
  • 1
    @Mauro Don't worry, プレゼントしてくれたカメラ is "the camera the manager gave to me". I just removed the relative clause for the sake of simplicity.
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 13:01
  • How would you literally translate the original sentence? It sounds like "Saying "As the celebration", the camera the manager gave to me", which at least in English doesn't make sense. I can understand it as "The camera (that) the manager gave to me as celebration", but that omits the 「と言う」 part (or, rather, doesn't translate it as "Saying..."; would that be right, with 「と言う」 read like "that"? (I think it's related/the same as 「昨日来たという男」, 「田中さんという男」, but I'm not sure.)
    – Mauro
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 14:03
  • 2
    @Mauro I think「二十歳のお祝いにと(言って)店長がプレゼントしてくれたカメラ...」 means "...the camera that the manager gave, saying «(This is/I give you this) as a celebration» with "celebration" in the meaning of "congratulatory gift​". Maybe you're Italian like me (Mauro is an Italian name, I think), and in Italian it would be like "... La camera che mi diede il manager dicendo «(Questo è/ti do questo) come celebrazione». The fact is that maybe the meaning of お祝い is too general and not so clear. It can mean: congratulation; congratulations; celebration; festival; congratulatory gift​.
    – giuc99
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 14:54





  • Why the 「のでの」 in 「にほんごのでの回答」?
    – Mauro
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 8:19
  • 1
    訂正します。 日本語での回答になります。 Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 9:00
  • 2
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 9:27
  • 1
    @guic Close, but the omitted verb after と is 言って in this case. "saying '(I give this) as the 20th birthday celebration' ".
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 10:56
  • 2
    @guic99 Yes, this に is a function/role marker ("as" or "for" in English).
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 11:07

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