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土曜日に予定がない

I don't think this に marks time because 予定がない is not something that happens. My closest guess is that it denotes 評価.

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ない being the negative form of the verb ある, your sentence has the same basic structure as a sentence like this.

月曜日に試験がある。

This に clearly indicates a specific time when something happens. The difference, of course, is that the subject in your sentence is not an action or event, but a plan. But then again, this plan is one for doing something. People will understand this 予定 as すること and think of some action or event when they hear someone say 予定がある or 予定がない. This must be making に acceptable enough.

While totally acceptable in everyday conversation, the following polite versions still don’t quite sound natural to me as standalone sentences.

土曜日に予定があります。

土曜日に予定がありません。

The following are totally unacceptable as スケジュール cannot be understood as the same as すること.

x 土曜日にスケジュールがあります。

x 土曜日にスケジュールがありません。

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  • Is my comment under the first answer a correct interpretation?
    – Nameless
    Apr 6, 2022 at 2:57
  • @Nameless - I think so. ストライキが予定されている essentially means the same thing as ストライキがある. It goes well with the time-に.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 6, 2022 at 6:21
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    Out of curiosity, how would you ask someone if they have any plans in a polite context? If the sentences above don't sound natural, wouldn't it also be unnatural to directly ask「今週末、予定はありますか?」or something along those lines? Apr 6, 2022 at 15:24
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    @JansthcirlU - That sounds natural. You could also say 今週末は(何か)予定がありますか. It is the に that is making the sentences above somewhat unnatural.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 7, 2022 at 0:57
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In this case「土曜日」(Saturday) is a time indication, so this usage of に is temporal. The word「予定」means schedule or plan, but it's also used to mean plans (i.e. things to do). Your sentence therefore translates to:

I have no plans on Saturday.

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  • Yes, I think you're correct. ない by itself denotes a state rather than action, but when combined with 予定, it implies some action as a consequence of not having arranged for something. In this sense, 予定されている is state but ストライキが予定されている an action, so you can use it with に, as in 4月6日にストライキが予定されている.
    – Nameless
    Apr 5, 2022 at 17:29

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