I have found this sentence:

家族で出かける。(Kazoku de dekakeru.)

Why is the particle で used instead of と?

  • 5
    Do you mean "why is the particle で used not と”? if so then it is probably the difference between "we went out as a family" and "I went out with my family" but it is difficult to be conclusive without the full sentence and more info on the context.
    – Tim
    Oct 15, 2012 at 15:04
  • Yes, you are right. My english is poor, I am sorry. The full sentence was: "kazoku de doraibu ni dekakeru".
    – roby
    Oct 15, 2012 at 15:17
  • 5
    From what I've read (via Google after reading this question), it seems that 家族で may mean "as a family", as opposed to 家族と meaning "with a family". I'm not 100% though. Oct 15, 2012 at 18:04

1 Answer 1


The difference between using で and と is the difference between "we went out as a family" and "I went out with my family", I think of it as rather like the French "en famille". 家族で is very common expression and you can also hear this grammatical use when people refer to doing things as a group (グループで/皆でやりましょう).

It is another variation on the use of the で particle to indicate the means/use of something to do something else (映画をテレビで見た、日本語で話した etc) although I must admit I find it easier to remember and understand intuitively rather than by trying to rationalise this definition.

(The easiest way I can think of to explain the double use で is to compare it to the use of "how" in English: The question "How did you go to the races?" can grammatically be answered in two ways: "As a group/as a family" or "By car". The difference is that where as in English we use the same word to make two different inquiries, in Japanese we use the same particle to give two different answers to [what would be] the same inquiry [in English].)

  • 2
    Yeah right! Think of the same thing when saying 一人で, 二人で, it actually implies "with", but we Japanese tends to privileges "as" sometimes. Nice answer Tim!
    – Andry
    Dec 11, 2012 at 8:26

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