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I learnt that in Japanese, the の preposition is used to describe the direction of a place (up, down, right, left, next to, etc. For example:

  • 部屋の中 (heya no naka): Inside the room.

  • テーブルの上 (te-buru no ue): On the table.

But then I listened to a conversation that contains a sentence which I believe is written like this:

  • あの 信号 をひだりへ 曲がってください (ano shingou o hidari e magatte kudasai): Please turn at that signal

In this case を is being used instead of の.

Is it just a mistake in the above sentence or did I not hear it right?

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[あの信号を][ひだりへ]曲がってください。

あの信号を continues to 曲がってください, not to ひだりへ. (I mean, it's not 「あの信号の/をひだり」.) あの信号を and ひだりへ both modify verb 曲がる.

あの信号曲がる make a turn at that signal
あの信号ひだりへ曲がる lit. make a turn to the left at that signal → turn left at that signal

曲がる is an intransitive verb. Noun+を used with intransitive motion verbs, such as 歩く, 行く, 出る, 飛ぶ, 進む etc., can indicate the place of an action, the direction of a movement, or the point of departure, etc.

For more on this を, you could refer to:

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Mainly の is used for the possessiveness. Exact meaning in english is "of" or "belongs to".

In the case of を it's a object marking particle.

For the direction purposes, normally に へ で are used respectively. Other particles are very rarely used.

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  • While what you say isn't incorrect, the の and を particles have other functions as well. This question, as it turns out focuses on the other functions of these particles. – ajsmart Jun 8 at 20:51
  • English it is. "english" means something else. – Peter Mortensen Jun 8 at 22:23

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