Short Grammar Questions

:woman_shrugging:t3: I asked someone (from 福岡市) who said that using の isn’t grammatically wrong, because it‘s unlikely that the meaning is possessive here, but that the meaning would change as I stated before (just as it would, in my opinion, if you leave out all the 春 stuff).
But I am okay with agreeing that it is a very awkward construct that a native speaker would never use.


I’m studying てくれるand てあげる under Genki and they said “if the main verb does not have the place for the person(beneficiary) use のために.”

For example,
私はともこさんのために買い物み行きました and けんさんが私のために部屋を掃除してくれました

I’m confused what it means by verbs that do not have a place for a beneficiary?

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I was really confused by this when I read Genki as well. It just means that if the person that あげる or くれる refers to isn’t needed for the verb to make sense, you mark them with ために.

For example, in the 掃除 example, 掃除 as a verb calls only for an object marked with を. Because of that, the benficiary needs to be marked separately. If I remember correctly there’s an example in Genki with 連れていく.


In this case we don’t need to mark the beneficiary (Tom) with ために because the verb 連れていく calls for him (using を).

Some more examples:

  1. 友だちのためにかのじょのしゅくだいを出してあげました。(We need ために because 出す does not call for a beneficiary to make sense)
  2. お父さんは私をはげましてくれました。“My dad encouraged me” (We don’t need ために because はげます calls for the beneficiary, which is marked with を)

Hopefully that helps a little


Thank god I’m not the only one. If you don’t mind me asking more questions, for 母に靴を買ってあげた, why doesn’t 母 need to have ために?

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You have あげる there so you don’t need the ために. 「母にあげた」.
You could also say 母のために靴を買った, although that doesn’t directly say that you gave them to her.
Hopefully that makes sense?


I use the Midori app/dictionary. It was recommended in one of the Tofugu articles. I absolutely love it. You can turn your phone offline and it works perfect. This way you wont get distracted with the rest of your phone. The database is huge and comes with so many examples.

母のために靴を買った could be a result of 母 saying 「買ってほしい」. But without context we really don’t know.

One thing I dislike about Genki example sentences is that they have no context so sometimes it can be difficult to go more indepth in the intricacies.


What is the difference between に & ために ? For example, 私は娘のためにこの本を買った vs 私は娘にこの本を買った.

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One iteration of the answer would be that に marks a ‘target’, while ために marks a beneficiary.

In this example ために is correct because 娘 is the beneficiary of 買う, rather than the target. It would be more natural to see 買ってあげた though.

To me this sounds a little odd. I might have to defer the explanation of this one to someone else because I’m not quite sure how to explain it :sweat_smile:

To expand this question: what’s the difference between に and ために after verbs? E.g. あの人を手伝うために自分のお金を使っちゃった vs あの人を手伝うのに自分のお金を使っちゃった

Jisho says that ために after a verb means “because” or “in order to”. So in the case of あの人を手伝うために, I’d translate that as “in order to help that person”.

In the other case: あの人を手伝うのに you don’t apply に to the verb (which you seem to assume in your question) but to the nominalized phrase あの人を手伝う, and thus I believe に in that case is just the indirect-object marker that might be translated as “for”. “I spent my own money for [the] helping [of] that person.” I guess?

So in the end I think this is in no way different from what you stated originally:

it’s just that the target is the nominalized action あの人を手伝うの.


this confuses me. i thought the use of ために depends on the main verb, not on the auxiliary verb あげる. so in this case we don’t need ために because there’s the option to mark the beneficiary, when using 買う. on the other hand, if we would say 買い物に行く we have to use ために because the main verb 行く has no place for the beneficiary.
and your answer makes it seem like using the auxiliary verb あげる is about literally giving something. i always thought that it just expresses that the act of buying was done as a favor for somebody else. :thinking:


@quito5 に on its own only works to attach to the 連用形 (AKA い-stem or ます(stem) of a verb in a sentence wheere a movement verb that can use へ is used. Ie:

Tanaka came to eat

It is worth noting that it can be attached to nouns when it is a する verb.

My friend left to study

This doesn’t work with other verbs.


Of course, you can nominalizer the verb and then have it work.


ために is more general and can work with any verb, and also nouns.

According to the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, the nuances are:

のに and ために both imply that the purpose is somewhat important. So:

I went to the store to buy a game

I went to the store to buy a game (and it was important)

The difference between のに and ために is that のに can’t be a currently ongoing process. So:

I will play so that I can win.



It literally does mean to give (to someone else).

If you check the Wisdom EN-JP dictionary, you’ll find that it’s correct to say this, even if using 買ってあげた is more common in the dictionary‘s examples for such structures. I think it’s more likely that ために adds additional emphasis to the idea of purpose, especially since 「あなたのために」(and similar structures) has such nuances as ‘it’s for your sake/your good’. Also, I think (though I’m not at all sure) that using に alone would perhaps be less natural in a case where something was bought for someone but was rejected/did not manage to reach them.

In short, I think it’s a question of recipient (に) vs beneficiary (ために).


Right. It’s probably best to conceptualize that に can only be used for purpose with ために, のに, or when a movement word is used. に can have similar sounding uses sometimes on its own (like beneficiary) or with other combinations (ie: ように can occasionally be rewritten in English to be for a purpose), but those are definitely different.

I know that あげる can be translated as “to give”, but I was explicitly referring to the auxiliary verb and the example sentence 母に靴を買ってあげた.
I understood ShotgunLagoons answer so, that they implied that this sentence means, that the shoes were bought and then given to the mother. As far as I understood the auxiliary verb doesn’t have this meaning, but expresses that the act of buying shoes was done as a favor for the mother (or the act was “given” to the mother, but not necessarily the shoes themselves).

Ah, ok, I see. Yes, you’re right. I don’t think the literal meaning of あげる is meant to enter into the interpretation of the sentence.

(By the way, I don’t meant to pry, but is your native language German? I just couldn’t help but notice the commas before each ‘that’.
PS: this isn’t meant as a backhanded comment on your English. I’m genuinely curious.)

Uh… I’m not sure I agree, especially since I personally use the ‘purpose’ or ‘direction’ nuance of に in order to explain the difference between ため (indicating any kind of reason) and ために (indicating a purpose as a reason). I think it’s more accurate to say that に on its own just (vaguely) indicates some kind of ‘direction’ or ‘target’, and that the specific nuance can be made clearer by adding other words.

Jawoll, German is my native language and that’s where all these commas come from. :smile::v:


I’ve seen ござる in a few tweets over the week, and I’m wondering if people still use ござる to be quirky or something? And if I use it with my friends, would they look at me weird?

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I think they’d look at you weird, unless you are obviously doing an imitation of some kind. Unless you mean to also include ございます? You can use that, but outside of おはようございます and such phrases, it might come off too formal for among friends.


If you use ござる in dictonary firm, you are going to sound the same as if you are using thy/thou in English. I’ve seen it used, along with the archaic し/き adjective forms, but it’s always on the context of trying to sound like you are speaking a centuries old version of the language.

On the other hand, でございます is regularly used as a super polite copular. ございます for very polite language is also apparently used a decent amount by old people in western Japan.