According to A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar, under the には entry, には can take a noun if it's a noun of action (third paragraph). には is に + は after all, so I assume that the same rule applies for just に (they're not that specific). If so, I don't see how 朝ごはん is noun of action. This is the only sentence that I've come across that doesn't follow this trend, yet it's said to be the purpose particle に in The Japanese Stage-Step Course.

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  • Does The Japanese Stage-Step Course give more explanation or examples of what it calls "purpose に"? If so can you edit your question to include that? I think the books you have define that a little differently. Commented Apr 3, 2022 at 22:55
  • Maybe the book sees it as "I eat apples for [the purpose of doing] breakfast"?
    – Mauro
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 5:23

1 Answer 1


Indeed, that explanation ("に functions to express the purpose of an action") seems misleading to me. 朝ご飯 is a simple noun, and 朝ご飯する is ungrammatical. Here, this に is a rather simple role/purpose marker described in several previous questions. It roughly corresponds to "as" or "for" in English.

に can also take a suru-verb as a purpose, for example 運転には免許が必要だ ("To drive it, you need a license"), but your sentence about 朝ご飯 is slightly different.

  • One of my books would classify this に as The ocassion for an action.
    – Nameless
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 1:38
  • @Nameless I'm not familiar with that particular phrase...
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 1:40
  • Sorry for the late response. It means The event in which some action takes place.
    – Nameless
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 16:35
  • @Nameless This type of に can take nouns that are clearly not events (e.g., 議長に彼を推薦する, テーマに桜を選ぶ, バットを武器に使用する). And に in 朝食にりんごを食べた is not a time/location marker (∼ "in/at") but a role/function marker (∼ "as/for"). I can say this because 朝食にテレビを見た is wrong but 朝食にリンゴを買う is correct.
    – naruto
    Commented Apr 4, 2022 at 23:01
  • Yes, this is why I prefer your explanation.
    – Nameless
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 0:31

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