"I went to a department store by car."
に for the route A to B, で for the method of conveyance, or the device being used.
For all those who are not sure about the usage of に and へ : in the case of indicating direction or destination, both of them are fully interchangeable. However, に has much wider usage, where it can't be replaced by へ . Check out the link given below for more information: http://www.punipunijapan.com/japanese-particle-ni-e/
I was taught to use へ as the particle to indicate destination (e.g. デパートへ行きました). Any reasoning behind using に here?
I was taught that へ was like や in the way that it is more vague.
For example, と means "and", but や means "and (among other things)".
Likewise, に means to go directly to a place while へ means that you could have had other stops along the way.
At least, that's what I was told.
In my understanding, に is used to indicate destination, while へ is used to indicate direction.
It's not quite so black and white, but you are correct about the general uses of the two particles.
Agree. This should be へ. It reads as if you're driving your car into the store (which is generally frowned upon).
I was taught you could use either fairly interchangeably for directional motion.
Good point. まで is like French "jusqu'à". It focuses on the distance, the act of going. The destination isn't so important.
家から学校まで歩いで行きます。– „I go from my house to the school on foot”. Here, it is not important that you go to school, but the fact that you go on foot. It is easier to notice within the context:
家まで歩いで行ってから、つけれました。– „I got tired, because I went home on foot.” Here, you're tired because you went on foot, not becuase you went to school.
I hope this clears everything a bit and doesn't make it even more complicated :)
I am a little confused here. Don't we use de for places and ni for reason?
Or am I getting my particles mixed up?
Confusion is the right answer. Each particle has a set of ways it can be used. In this case; で indicates means (with, by means of), and に indicates the destination. I think those are the most basic uses of those particles, but で can also indicate location, and に can do a lot of things.
The difference when で indicates a location is that it indicates the location something takes place, where as に is used for the destination of a motion verb (when refering to a location using に).
レストランに行きました - She went to the restaurant. レストランで食べました - She ate at the restaurant.
The general rule is for verbs such as あります, います, 行きます, たちます, すわります, に is used for location. For verbs such as たべます, よみます, ききます, で is used, but they do often overlap each other in particular contexts.