So I am a beginner when it comes to Japanese and today I stumbled upon the phrase "鍵を開ける". As I understand, one of the usages of the particle で is, how something or where something is done. i.e: 日本語で話{はな}す or 家で働{はたら}く

While the particle を is used to define the object of the action. So I assumed "鍵を開ける" would mean "to open the key". But it doesn't.

  • Why is that?
  • Is 開ける just an exception when it comes to particles?
  • Are particles generally used differently depending on the verb?
  • Am I misunderstanding something or is this just another use of the particle を?

鍵 also means "lock", not just "key". Yes, it will take your English-speaking brain some time to come to terms with it. 🤣

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    I feel a bit more explanation would help because 窓が鍵を開ける would literally mean "the window opens the lock". So there's more going on here than just 鍵 having the meaning of 'lock'. This phrase doesn't seem right to me but I don't have enough confidence to provide an answer myself. Mar 31 '21 at 22:07
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    @user3856370 sorry, was a mistake on my part, I edited it out. Mar 31 '21 at 22:10
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    @BennySchärer Ah, good. I feel happy again :-) Mar 31 '21 at 22:12
  • @user3856370, I've never encountered that construction myself, and I can't find anything for that specific phrase in Google. Mar 31 '21 at 22:15
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    @BennySchärer The following may not be something a language learner should know, but: there is a word that properly refers to locks, which is じょう (錠). I would consider using かぎ to refer to a lock is an instance of metonymy. Not that one often hears the sentence 錠をあける.
    – Pteromys
    Apr 1 '21 at 9:47

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