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Quick question(s) about に and へ

Hi, since there doesn't yet seem to be a Japanese discussion board (as the course isn't out on browsers, I guess) and you can't discuss sentences on mobile, I'll ask about this here, if that's okay.

In the Time skills, I saw a few sentences like this:

1. 六時学校行きます。

2.学校行きます。 学校行きます。

In 1., に is used for the time and へ is used for "to/towards". In 2., に and へ seem to be used interchangeably for "to/towards". (I didn't see any sentences like 六時に学校行きます。)

When meaning "to/towards", are に and へ interchangeable? I only know a tiny bit of Japanese grammar, and I always thought に was essentially a locative case/particle, so that caught me off guard a little. Is there any difference in meaning between the sentences in 2.? Would it also be possible to say 六時に学校に行きます ?


(Unrelated bonus question: in the Hiragana skills, "seven" was taught as なな, but in the Time skills, "seven" was taught as しち. I know that Japanese characters can have different readings, so are なな and しち both written as 七, and are they used in different contexts or are the pronunciations interchangeable?)

May 19, 2017



へ highlights the fact that you are going towards somewhere, but you can usually also use に. Not the other way around though.

なな and しち are pretty much interchangeable, but なな is used in compound numbers. If you haven't come across is yet, 四(four) can be よん or し, with よん being used in compounds.

EDIT: へ can also be used for something that's directed at somewhere, and not necessarily going there at the moment.

EX: 'あなたへの手紙。' means 'letters for/to you'.

[deactivated user]

    I don't want to sound rude or arrogant but i knew that if you want to give something to someone you have to use に and not の. の is used for possesive like your example, it would be translated as 貴方の手紙 "your letter". Like is it for me? 私に?


    I've seen あなたへの in a Japanese song, so it's definitely right there.


    ありがとう again to both of you! I don't know how to phrase it in Japanese, so I'm just guessing, lol, but would あなたへのこれ手紙です mean "This letter is for you", and would あなたこれ手紙です mean "This letter is yours" ?


    あなたのこれ手紙です isn't grammatically right. It would be simply あなたの手紙です, or if you wanted to include これ, この手紙はあなたの(手紙)です.

    Yes. Here's the breakdown of the sentence:

    あなた is 'you', and へ is kind of like 'towards', so あなたへ makes 'towards you'

    の is used in many situations to make nouns and phrases into adjective-like words(among many other meanings), so the literal translation would be something like: The letters which are directed at you.

    [deactivated user]

      Ken is right, usually if you want to specify the object (but is necessay in most of the cases) you have to put it as first elementf the sentence:

      これは貴方の靴です this/these + wa+ your +no+ shoe/s is , this is/are your shoe/s

      貴方の靴です is/are your shoes ( you are seeing your friend pointing at your shoes, so it is not necessary "this").


      どうも!Very helpful answer :)


      に marks a specific destination (I'm going to the school, that is my exact destination), and へ marks a more vague direction of motion (I'm going towards the school, that is the direction I'm going in, I'm not necessarily going to the school)


      There are two different sets of numbers in Japanese: one comes from Old Japanese and the other from Chinese. The sequence you typically hear in martial arts classes ("Ichi!", "Ni!", "San!", "Shi!", etc) is the Chinese-borrowed sequence and is the one most commonly used in generic counting situations. However, "Yon" and "Nana" are the versions of "four" and "seven" in the Old Japanese set of numbers and they often substitute for their Chinese-derived counterparts ("Shi" and "Shichi", since "Shi" is synonymous with "death" and is thus inauspicious).

      As in other East Asian languages, numbers are typically used with different "counters" when specifying the quantity of a certain object. For example, large animals are counted with the counter "Tou"; so we don't say "one cow", but rather "one-Tou of cow". Some counters use the Chinese-derived numbers and others the Old Japanese numbers (and just to make matters more fun, some counters use the Old Japanese numbers for some quantities and the Chinese-derived numbers for others).

      The Old Japanese-derived numbers come up most often when using the counter "tsu" ,which is a generic counter used with unspecified objects. You count such objects as "hitotsu", "futatsu", "mittsu", "yottsu", etc). Something I learnt the hard way is that "hitotsu" and "futatsu" are very easy for English native speakers to mix up; if you pronounce the "o" in "hitotsu" like first "o" in "October" -- it will be heard by a Japanese person like an "a". You need to pronounce it like the second "o". Numerous times in Japan I thought I was ordering one thing off of a menu and ended up getting two. :-)


      ありがとう, such an in-depth answer!

      So whenever you learn a new counter - like a classifier in Vietnamese? - you have to learn the appropriate number system that goes with it, right? And are numbers like 一つ etc. used for saying things like "One (of them)", or "I'd like one", is that what you mean by "unspecified"?

      The number system certainly seems difficult, I guess it's going to take a lot of practice to get used to!


      Yes, exactly. When you learn a new counter, you need to learn the appropriate number system. Fortunately, most of them use the Chinese-derived numbers. However, the minority of them that use Old Japanese numbers tend to come up a lot in daily conversation (such as "ka" for days, "nin" for people, or "tsu" for miscellaneous objects).

      There are some sound changes as well. For example, the counter "hon" is used for cylindrical things (like beer bottles....it's a counter you need to know in a bar!) But to count beer bottles, you say "ippon" (1), "nihon" (2), "sanbon" (3).

      By "unspecified", I mean basically things that don't have their own counter or which the counter is unclear, (or...helpful trick for beginners...if you don't know what the correct counter is!). For example, there is no specific counter for "hamburgers", so if you are ordering 2 hamburgers at McDonalds, you use "tsu" ("Hanbaagaa-wo futatsu kudasai!") I used to be a bit pretentious and use the counter "mai" (which is used for flat things) when ordering pizzas, but it wasn't the most natural use.

      I recall one complaining to a Japanese friend about the needless complexity of the counting system. Her retort: "Yeah, well, why don't we talk about articles. 'An apple' vs 'the apple' --- ❤❤❤ is that all about?" :-)

      Gambare! :-)

      [deactivated user]

        For what i know (i did an audio course time ago where they say that you can use both) but it is most common to use/hear に instead of へ.


        東京に行きます...it's the same thing.

        [deactivated user]

          どういたしまして :D.

          [deactivated user]

            Btw, i suggest you to listen this audio course i did because it explain really well the basic grammar of japanese, especially the use of these "particles" (i don't know how to call them but you get what i mean xD). Search on google "Michel Thomas Japanese", you can find it easily on the web.There is the foundation and the advanced, but with the help on the first was i was ready to do the opposite tree (and with the help of memrise courses i did, but not the offical memrise course, only the vocab courses).


            Thank you for the recommendation! I've never tried using an audio course before, so I'll definitely check it out!

            [deactivated user]

              If english is your native language, it won't be a problem, it is easy and they repeat the sentences several times ( if i did it you can do it for sure xD) so...you can always try ;).

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