Short Grammar Questions (Part 1)

Chapter two of Tobira says that in “Nounにとって” , the noun is often a geographic unit; I was wondering if anyone is kind enough to give me some examples?

What does that even mean.

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Hmm… you know… it’s been a while since I looked at Tobira, and after consulting my copy I think their phrasing is strange here. I’d just think of にとって as like, “from the perspective of…” - the specific phrasing of “geographic unit” may not be worth getting hung up on, I believe it’s just trying to say that the same grammatical meaning would apply to like, countries or towns or cities or regions and stuff like that as well as it would for say, people.
As for specific examples, I found say, a book called “アメリカにとって同盟とはなにか” “what is alliance from the perspective of America”
and another book called “日本にとって最大の危機とは?” “what is the biggest danger from the perspective of Japan” so I guess that would be the closest answer to your question, but I really don’t think it’s worth treating “geographic unit” as a separate case


Like, it actually says, in English, apparently with no extra information, “the noun is often a geographic unit.”?

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Well, they omitted a lot of extra information!
The full quote is

Xにとって means “to X; for X” in a context where something (or someone) is important to X, or is necessary, useful, good, difficult, etc. for X. X is often a person, a geographic unit or an organization.

so I figured they were specifically asking about the “geographic unit” part (since they omitted the rest).
Certainly less weird IN context… but I can still sort of empathize with the confusion.

(I definitely feel like I’ve learned にとって in a less confusing way since whenever I originally would have read that…)


Why wouldn’t they just say “place name” if that’s what it means? I don’t even know what would have come to mind if someone told me “name a geographic unit.”


Search me! That’s honestly the surprising part to me! I have fond memories of Tobira but “geographic unit” is… not clear! to say the least

If it helps anyone, the 新完全マスター version (where I learned the phrase more memorably than I apparently did with Tobira) is:

「~の立場から考えると。。。だ」 。。。は形容詞を含む分が多い。
as far as ~ is concerned, …
… is often a phrase containing an adjective.

No “geographic units” there!

A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns says

With a noun mostly expressing a person or an organization, expresses the meaning of “from the point of view.” May express the meaning of “considering that aspect” when it is preceded by a noun expressing a thing, state or an event as shown in example 3. Followed by some expression to show (in)ability or the speaker’s evaluation, such as むずかしい (difficult), ありがたい (grateful), or 真剣だ (serious). Cannot be followed by an expression to show the speaker’s attitude, such as 賛成, 反対 or 感謝する.

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I think ‘geographic unit’ is more accurately ‘geographic entity’. I think they were looking for a word that would cover countries, continents, cities, neighbourhoods… basically something that can be defined by an area on a map and which provides a reason for it to be considered by as a single unit that might have an opinion or be affected as a whole by something else. It’s still a strange phrase, that’s for sure.


Both of those just seem like overly complicated ways to say “place” to me


Comes up with 158 million hits on google so must be a thing…

also I found this charming ISB standard…

looks to me like it refers more to a political/administrative area than place implies. I think @Jonapedia has the right idea


Oh yeah, to be clear, I totally agree with you on the meaning!
Tobira’s phrasing just seems a little overly tortured is all, so I wanted to try to make sure they didn’t get hung up on that instead of getting the meaning of the grammar.


Yup, I understand. In any case, I think that even for a ‘geographic unit’, the way にとって is used is much closer to treating that ‘unit’ as a person anyway. It’s easier to explain things that way, and makes more sense.

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Yeah, maybe something like “entity” would fit better what they were going for with “a person, a geographic unit or an organization”

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“geographic unit” comes up with about 250,000 results when I search.


I don’t think anyone denies that such a phrasing exists, but “place name” would have sufficed, if it was even necessary at all, because I can’t find any other resource that defines にとって with any emphasis on geography.


ah yeah, I forgot quotes…I get about half a million hits then

and I think we’re also all agreed that it’s a silly phrase to use in a language textbook :+1:

this is the first time I’d come across the word as well

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Was reading NHK Easy News, why is でも used in the first part of the sentence? Or is the で used as a particle?

It’s で for ‘in Japan’ and も for ‘also’, so ‘also in Japan’.


Ah, I figured. Lots of possibilities.