the NI particle in Japanese

Know more about the NI particle in Japanese in its main uses in NIHONGO!

the particle ni it is one of the most functional particles in Japanese grammar. It can be used to indicate existence and location, direction of an action, time span and much more.

The purpose of this article is not to detail all particle functions. ni, as this would become very long and tiring. Therefore, I will emphasize the most common functions of this japanese particle.

Indicating existence or location

the particle ni it can be used to indicate the existence or location of something or someone. In sentences like this, the particle ni usually precedes the verb, indicating where the subject of the sentence is.



Professor Tanaka is now at school.


he is not living at the Japan.

As I mentioned in the article about the ga particle in japanese, we can combine several Japanese particles in order to be more specific or add more information in a sentence. In many of these cases, the particle ni it has no translation.



He is living/living near Tokyo station.


There are/are fish(s) in the sea.

Note that, unlike the particle and which is used in conjunction with action verbs, the particle ni it's usually used with more static verbs or else where the subject of the sentence doesn't change location because of the action performed.


Mr. Honda works (or is working) at the Shinjiku bank.

The NI particle and the time relation

the particle ni it can indicate a relationship of time, identifying what is happening in a certain place. It can indicate when something started, ended, or the time interval when something happened or is happening.



the bank opens at nine o'clock.


Every morning, school (or classes) starts. at half past eight.


I'm going to Brazil at Monday.

Unlike particles kara and made, which we'll mention in later articles, the particle ni usually uses tense adverbs rather than highlighting exactly the beginning and ending moment of the action.

Indicating the objective of an action

This is the biggest confusion point for students of Japanese, since the particle and sets out to perform the same function. In sentences like this, the particle ni can be exchanged for the particle and without altering the meaning of the sentence.




I wanna go to Japan.



She goes to Brazil next month.

Although this happens several times, the objective of an action does not always reflect the subject's displacement from one place to another. In my view, when there is no displacement of the subject, it makes no sense to change the particle ni by the particle and.



I wrote a letter to My oldest brother.

Marking the indirect object of the sentence

the particle ni is often used to highlight the indirect object of a sentence. It usually appears after the indirect object, when the indirect object precedes a direct object, or between the indirect object and the verb.



I'm going at shopping (shopping).


My sister gave a birthday present for me.


Despite having many functions, learn the basic uses of the particle ni it's not complicated. I know there are other functions for it and over time I plan to update this article with more particle functions ni.

For now, I thought it would be better to comment on the most common uses of this particle.


Article of NHk on this particle and there's also this explanation clicking here.

From the skdesu website also writes about:

へ, に, で particles which and when to use?

Below video from the faleemjapones channel explaining the particle に as well: