I've found in this site


that ~あて can be used with meaning "per" (jisho confirms it as well), and the site shows this example

一人【ひとり】あて三冊【さんさつ】 = three books per person

However, most of Japanese natives I've asked say this sounds unnatural (but cannot explain the reason, but mostly by "internal sense of naturality") and that they would say it with ~あたり or with ~につき.

Then I would really like to know if that example is indeed unnatural or not, and if so, the reason why.

Besides, I would like to know in which cases I can use ~あて interchangeably with ~あたり and ~につき and to see some examples if possible.

  • 4
    You can safely forget about that and always use 〜あたり or 〜につき. I've never heard anyone say it. When you hear something you've never heard anyone say, it sounds unnatural. There is no more reason.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 16:39
  • Ok, I see! Thanks for your point of view. :)
    – kanachan
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


Before discussing whether it's unnatural or not, the main issue here is that most young people probably have never seen or heard such an expression. As for myself, I can only recall that I might have heard my grandparents using it about 30 years ago, but I have no idea whether it's dialectal or simply old. You can safely forget あて meaning "per", and use ~あたり or ~につき instead, as your friends say.

あて meaning "to" in the context of mailing is very common.

  • Ok, I see! Thanks a lot for your answer. :)
    – kanachan
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 19:02

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