I am having some difficulty understand のに in some context cases such as

  • のにいい
  • のにかかる
  • のに便利

I understand that のに has two grammar points

  • in order to
  • despite, but

And after reading several questions asked here, this grammar points breaks down in to the nominalizer の + に for an action towards the previous section.

I spent an hour with my tutor on this one specific point, and I can somewhat understand Aのに時間がかかる as in "in order for A to happen it takes time". However I am lost on のにいい/便利 and other such 評価 adjectives. Would it be possible to try and explain how のに interacts with these words?


1 Answer 1


You can try to think of it as roles. All nouns in a sentence play some role. For example, in a sentence like "she told the secret to her friend", we have the person doing it, the content of her saying and person to whom she tells. In Japanese we show it by particles like が, を and に.

So when we want to say something like "it's convenient (to do something)", this "to do something" has to be somehow marked/attached. It's not the person, and not the target/content of our action, so neither が or を would fit it. This is more or less why it's used with に. And this connection doesn't always fit the same description. In case of any kind of movement or transfer, it's often described as destination/source, depending on direction. This can be stretched to existence too, we can say that something exist somewhere, some related to our action place. And in case of 便利 it's so too, but it would be odd to say that in a sentence like "this dictionary is convenient for looking things up" "looking up" is a destination/source of convenience. We might, but it would be quite shadowy and unclear.

This is more or less so for many other particles too. There are roles for a theme (は), means (で), and many others. This の is simply added to turn verbs into nouns, otherwise we wouldn't be able to attach a particle like に. However, it's probably important to mention that sometimes people leave such の completely and you can find sentences like 想像するに難くない.

  • Thank you so much, I appreciate the way you broke it down conceptually.
    – Imnotanerd
    Commented Jun 14, 2023 at 0:35
  • And in case of 便利 it's so too What and how is it too? Do you suggest that in case of 便利 に marks something that exists? odd to say that [...] "looking up" is a destination/source of convenience First, should it be something of convenience? If just something, than I don't think it'd sound too odd to call it a destination. But goal or aim would likely sound better.
    – yk7
    Commented Feb 25 at 23:28

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