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I've got a question about に ...

Anathan

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I've got a question about に, should it be:
火よう日 まで  三冊 の 本 読まなければ なりません。

or without に

火よう日 まで 三冊 の 本 読まなければ なりません。
 

bentenmusume

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までに and まで are both valid constructions, but with different meanings.
The former is used if you are talking about completing an action by a certain point in time, while the latter is used for continuing an action until a certain point in time.

If you're trying to say "I need to read three books by Tuesday", then the first version (までに) is what you want.
The latter version (まで) would have a nuance suggesting that you have to continuously read these three books until Tuesday, at which time you'll be free to do other things again.

For further clarification, let's say you were planning to have a package delivered at home, and you needed to be there in person when it arrives.

If you were out and wanted to say that you had to be home by a certain hour, it would be:
7時までに家に帰らなければなりません。

If you were already at home and wanted to express that you had to stay at home (i.e. and not go out), it would be:
7時まで家にいなければなりません。

In this case, switching them would result in very awkward sentences, since "going home" (帰る) isn't a durative/continuous action that occurs over multiple hours and "being someplace" (いる) is not an instantaneous one that occurs in or by a single moment.

Hope this helps!
 
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Anathan

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までに and まで are both valid constructions, but with different meanings.
The former is used if you are talking about completing an action by a certain point in time, while the latter is used for continuing an action until a certain point in time.

If you're trying to say "I need to read three books by Tuesday", then the first version (までに) is what you want.
The latter version (まで) would have a nuance suggesting that you have to continuously read these three books until Tuesday, at which time you'll be free to do other things again.

For further clarification, let's say you were planning to have a package delivered at home, and you needed to be there in person when it arrives.

If you were out and wanted to say that you had to be home by a certain hour, it would be:
7時までに家に帰らなければなりません。

If you were already at home and wanted to express that you had to stay at home (i.e. and not go out), it would be:
7時まで家にいなければなりません。

In this case, switching them would result in very awkward sentences, since "going home" (帰る) isn't a durative/continuous action that occurs over multiple hours and "being someplace" is not an instantaneous one that occurs in or by a single moment.

Hope this helps!
Thank you so much! That was super helpful.
 

bentenmusume

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Happy to help! Feel free to come back with any other questions you might have.
 

Toritoribe

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Sorry for nitpicking, but を is needed after 本.

三冊の本読まなければなりません
 

bentenmusume

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Sorry for nitpicking, but を is needed after 本.

三冊の本読まなければなりません
Whoops! I was so focused on the まで/までに issue that I didn't even notice that the sentences were missing an を.

Apologies to the OP, and thank you Toritoribeさん for (again ;)) catching something that I carelessly missed.
 

bentenmusume

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I'm not Toritoribe-san, but one common and idiomatic way to say this is:

細かいことで(すみませんが…/申し訳ないのですが…/恐縮ですが…)

...where the parentheses can substituted with an apology of the appropriate register for your conversation.

The term あら捜し also has a similar nuance to "nitpick", but I wouldn't say it's used so often in examples like the one you give.
Rather, it refers to going out of one's way to find fault with others (and describes this act or someone who does it with a rather negative nuance).
 

Toritoribe

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Similar expressions like 些細なことですが, 大きな間違いではありませんが or 小さなことなんですが also work well.
 

mdchachi

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I think my go to phrase is 大したことではないですが... for whatever reason that's the one I've picked up and usually use in this situation.
 
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