I dont understand when to use には vs に

hey guys, i tried looking at other posts about it but i didn’t understand from them, i know quite a lot of grammar, and i can say on myself that i can speak normal conversations, but there is something that i just dont understand, when to use には and when to use に, but i am not talking about using に after な adjective (for example: 宿題を静かに解いた i did the homework quietly)i mean more like when you want to say for example: this guy doesn’t have emotions, my translation would be: あいつには感情はない or maybe あいつは感情を持っていない but the second translation is irrelevant, my question is do i need
は after the に? if yes, could you please explain to me why? by the way, i have one more example:
この部屋に箱はない or この部屋には箱はない? (there is no box in this room)
appreciate every answer, thank you all.


The purpose of the は is to show a contrast between whatever you are talking about and something else
XはY can be interpreted as As for X , Y.
Both に and には can be grammatically correct but one is usually more appropriate than the other depending on the situation.

This sentence places additional emphasis on 部屋 thanks to the は


The way I think about this is that it’s the same as the は vs が problem. When you want to mark a phrase with は, for some particles, like が, you drop the old particle and apply the は. For some other particles, you keep the old particle and add the は on the end. And for some particles you get a choice.

Must drop: が、を
May drop: へ、に when marking location
Usually remains: で、と、から、まで、より、に (non location meanings)

(List from the DoBJG.)

In all these cases, the other particle still does the job it usually does (marking location, point in time, etc etc), and the は is also doing the job it usually does (marking information already known, or setting up a contrast). So the は appears when you want to express that kind of meaning.

Because this is not specific to には in particular, you’ll probably find that information about it is filed under は in grammar references. (For example the info above from the DoBJG is from its “wa” article.)

(は vs が in general is notoriously tricky to pick up for learners whose first language does not have a topic marker. You should expect to need to come back to this grammar point from time to time as you progress through basic and intermediate levels; nobody gets all the detail in one go at it.)


I’m also interested in figuring out this nuance, but can’t offer anything besides my current guess as to the nuance between these two:

For anyone who knows/understands, let me know if my guess is on the right track or not:

この部屋に箱はない = “As for boxes in this room, there aren’t any.” (Or, “they don’t exist.”) Or maybe more naturally, “There are no boxes in this room.”

この部屋には箱はない = “In this room, there are no boxes.”

The latter subtly emphasizes that we’re talking about this room in particular. It’s significant that we’re talking about this particular room, and its lack of boxes.

The former is almost entirely focused on the existence of boxes, and only tangentially specifies that we’re limiting our discussions to this room, without focusing on this room. It’s just about the boxes (in this room, anyway)!

(Again, just a guess. Hoping for someone else to comment…)

BTW: Here’s Bunpro’s page on には (JLPT N2) | Bunpro – Japanese Grammar Explained (It’s not just an SRS website, they explicitly support its use as a secondary reference; you can also see the primary references in the Resources section.)