Japanese Grammar 104 – Prepositions he, ni, de, to, kara, made, ka

Prepositions – he, ni, de, to, kara, made, ka

These particles are used to distinguish the different roles that words have in the sentence.


‘He’ indicates movement emphasizing the direction.

Nihon he ikimasu – I go to Japan
Eki he ikimasu – I go to the station

‘Ni’ on the other hand indicates movement emphasizing the place of arrival, or the place/time where one is. It can also indicate the recipient of something.

Kaisha ni ikimasu – I go to the office
Ie ni hairimasu – I enter the house
Gakkō ni tsukue ga arimasu – At school there are desks
Ano kiji wa zasshi ni demashita – That article was published on a magazine
Kanojo ni hagaki o kakimasu – I write a letter to her
Getsuyō ni hajimemasu – I start on Monday

*Au (meet), naru (become), noru (get on) need NI as a preposition

Tomodachi ni aimasu – I meet a friend
Sensei ni narimasu – I become a teacher
Densha ni norimasu – I get on the train

‘De’ indicates place where an action is happening, or the means (instrumental case).

Ie de yomimasu – I read at home
Hikōki de ikimasu – I travel by plane
Kono hon o 500 yen de kaimasu – I buy this book with 500 yen

‘To’ indicates with whom the action is done, it is also a conjunction and is used for the indirect speech.

Neko to asobimasu – I play with the cat
Yasai to niku o tabemasu – I eat vegetables and meat
Kare wa denwa shimasu to iimashita – He said that he would call

‘Kara’ indicates the duration or the origin (from where). It can also refer to the cause of something.

Ashita kara jimusho he ikimasu – From tomorrow I will go to the office
Ie kara kimasu – I come from home
Samui kara mado o shimete kudasai – Since it is cold, please shut the window

‘Made’ refers to the duration (until, as long as) or the arrival point (to)

Kinō made ame deshita – It has rained until yesterday
Eki kara gakkō made arukimasu – I walk from the station to the school

‘Ka’ (or)

Kanojo wa ringo ka nashi o tabemasu She eats an apple or a pear
Ashita ka asatte mise ni/he ikimasu – Tomorrow or the day after I will go to the shop.

EXERCISE: 104 Prepositions he, ni, de, to, kara, made, ka | NEXT: 105 Existential Verbs