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愛にできること. I am so confused for the usage of the particle に here. This would translate to "things love can do", right? But I've always thought に marks the noun before it, and the action would be done to that noun. So why isn't this translated to "things we can do TO(for) love". I was thinking more like "母にプレセントを買ってあげた".

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I don't really see an appropriate entry in a dictionary definition, but this に means にとって for which for mostly works as a translation. (愛にとってできること is a bit unnatural, though)

できる is of course can do, but here possible to do would fit more nicely (in terms of getting a word-by-word translation).

By simply combining these, 愛に-できる-こと = for love - possible to do - things = things it is possible for love to do = things love can do.

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  • Is there be another particle we can use in place of に ? And how would the meaning vary? - 愛ができる: without the こと, this would mean "I can love", right? - 愛ができること: I would understand this as "things love can do" - 愛のできること:"love's possible to do things" - does this work? What if I want to say: Is there anything I can do for you, Ben? (Maybe he's doing some gardening and I want to help). What would be the most natural thing to say? Does "私にできることある?" work? Also, then how would I say "things I can do for love"? Aug 28 at 5:12
  • All yes to your questions. Just as for + N gives a subject to to + infinitive, 愛 in the example is a subject, hence の/が both work. Using の may be less used in speech, so 私に/ができることある are fine. Regarding the last question, it would be 私が愛(のため)にできること. (except do things for love being a little strange. It sounds like 愛 is someone's name.) I think most verbs containing potential meaning work similarly : 彼に/が/の読める本 = a book he can read.
    – sundowner
    Aug 28 at 6:35

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