On the difference between を and に

Although I have read several threads on this topic, I’m still having trouble grasping their definitions. Below are some examples which confuse me:

  1. 街をぶらぶら歩く
  2. ボブは⽇本に⾏った

In the first sentence, を is marking a location that is being traversed, not a destination. So it’s “walk through” the town (or street or district, whatever the precise meaning is here).

In the second, に marks a destination.


I’ve found Tofugu’s particle cheat sheet to be a helpful starting point for getting used to particle usage, but it should start to make more sense as you read/write more.

If I want to say I am picking up a bottle, do we use the に particle there? Since the direction is up? Or must it have some sort of destination then the particle can be used?

The word for “pick up” in Japanese doesn’t have to have “up” in it at all. It could be ひろう and you would just say びんをひろう in that case. Here を would be marking the direct object of ひろう, not a location marker like before.

There are cases where に indicates direction though, and not destination, you are correct on that.


Right, it’s clear now. Thank you for your explanation!

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