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Question The usage of に when asking and telling the time

imyourjoy

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when do we use the word に in a sentence?

As an example, should I use に in both of these cases?
かいしゃは8じにからです and
びじゅつかんは5じにおわります
 

Buntaro

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when do we use the word に in a sentence?

imyourjoy,

8じ に means “at eight o’clock”.

8じ から means “from eight o’clock”.

So I would suggest:

かいしゃ は 8じ から です 。
びじゅつかん は 5じ  おわります。

I would also suggest using spaces between words written in hiragana.
 

imyourjoy

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thank you for your reply Buntaro,

I heard from a friend that に is used when the event happens repeatedly, is it true?

As an example, would
びじゅつかん は 5じ  おわります mean that the art gallery closes at 5 o'clock everyday?
 

Toritoribe

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I heard from a friend that に is used when the event happens repeatedly, is it true?
No, that's not true. See the following example.

びじゅつかんはいつもは5じにおわりますが、きのうは4じにおわりました。
The art museum usually closes at 5, but yesterday it ended at 4.

As you can see, に is used for both "repeated event" and "one-off event". に indicates "a point of time" here.
Also, "spaces" are not used in Japanese.
 

Toritoribe

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Doesn't "に is used when the event happens repeatedly" connote that "に is not used when the event doesn't happen repeatedly" in this context? Anyway, "whether the event happens repeatedly or not" has nothing to do with the use of に.
 

mdchachi

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Doesn't "に is used when the event happens repeatedly" connote that "に is not used when the event doesn't happen repeatedly" in this context? Anyway, "whether the event happens repeatedly or not" has nothing to do with the use of に.
As a native English speaker, I don't believe so.
 

Toritoribe

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Well, if a learner of English asks "When do we use the preposition "at" in an English sentence? I heard from a friend that "at" is used when the event happens repeatedly. Is it true?", I don't think "Yes, that's true" is an appropriate answer even though "at" is really used in those situations, because "when the event happens repeatedly" is not the key of 'when "at" is used'.

Furthermore, "に is used when the event happens repeatedly" is not always correct. For instance, に can't be replaced with まで in かいしゃでまいにち5じまではたらいています (Everyday I work in my office until 5 o’clock) even though the event happens repeatedly. This is because '"whether the event happens repeatedly or not" has nothing to do with the use of に', as I already pointed out. "に might or might not be able to be used when the event happens repeatedly" would be a more accurate explanation, but this is useless information for learners, I believe.
 

mdchachi

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No argument with the above. I was just pointing out the contradiction in what you said.
You said A is not true. Then you said both A and B are (sometimes) true. That's all. ;)
 

Toritoribe

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Well, I think this is a good example that the meaning of a sentence is affected by the context also in English, or many other languages.:)
 

nice gaijin

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LOL it's like you're all right, so it's funny that you seemed to disagree with each other :D

I think that the simple "yes!" response is what caused the confusion, since it didn't explain further that it's not the only thing it's used for. Need "yes, and" or "yes, but" to be as accurate as possible!

As I understand, に is just like "at/to," depending on the verb it's paired with; it doesn't carry the connotation of "usually" by itself. It's actually the 〜ます form that can be interpreted as a regular/recurring event.

@Toritoribe, could I say 美術館は週末に5時に閉館します/終わります if I'm making the museum the primary subject? Or would it be more natural to say 週末は5時に閉館します, and focus specifically on the "weekend"? Could I also double up the は particles and still say "美術館は" before the second sentence? I generally try to avoid using it twice in a sentence
 

Toritoribe

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Yeah, my answer "no, that's not true" would be inappropriate, either (or at least "inaccurate").:)

could I say 美術館は週末に5時に閉館します/終わります if I'm making the museum the primary subject? Or would it be more natural to say 週末は5時に閉館します, and focus specifically on the "weekend"? Could I also double up the は particles and still say "美術館は" before the second sentence? I generally try to avoid using it twice in a sentence
There is no problem to use は twice in a single sentence. The following thread is exactly regarding this topic.


As I wrote there, the sub-topic usually functions as a contrastive marker, so 美術館は週末は5時に閉館します implies that the museum closes at a different time than weekend on weekdays (e.g. 6 o'clock).

美術館は週末に5時に閉館します sounds a bit unnatural to me. This expression would be able to be used only in a specific context where the focus is on "weekend".
e.g.
A: あの美術館の平日の閉館時間は5時ですか?
B: いいえ、平日は6時に閉まります。週末に5時に閉館します。
(Well, 5時に閉館するのは週末です would be more common even for this case...)
 
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