Best explained with an example:


The above sentence can either mean "I want to make apple pie with apples" or it can mean "That apple makes me want to make apple pie". How do I know which one is being implied? I don't think it can be judged by context really. I do realize that a better way to say "make" would be のせいで rather than で, ie: リンゴのせいでアップルパイを作りたい, but で feels ok too

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    Context doesn't help? Here's the only context I can think of where any sane person would say "I want to make apple pie with apples" -- Person a) "I want to make apple pie", Person b) "You can't. We only have pears", Person a) "Aww, but I want to make apple pie with apples" -- and even that's pushing it a bit. You might try to find a more convincing example, but I think the answer will still be 'context'. – user3856370 May 15 at 12:54
  • Why do you think のせいで would be a better way to say 'make'? – James Edwards May 15 at 13:14
  • で shouldn't feel ok too. That sentence simply doesn't mean リンゴのせいで... – By137 May 15 at 17:47

I believe everyone will read the sentence in question only as "I want to make an apple pie with apples". To say the other, you have to say リンゴを見てアップルパイが作りたくなった or something like this. Japanese particles (as well as English prepositions) each have many meanings, and the context is often the only clue. You have to get used to them by examples. (For example, one of the meanings of "by" in English is "alongside/near", but "go to school by bus" never means going to school by running after a bus.)

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