630 - のに (for)

JLPT N4: のに (for; to)

のに can be used like the word "for" in the sentence, "This pan is good forfrying eggs."

In Japanese, though, the word order gets changed. (Big surprise.)

They say something like: "This pan frying eggs のに good is."

Well, if we want to get really technical, the Japanese would be something like: "This pan は fried egg を make のに convenient is."

Let's see that in an example:

この フライパン は めだまやき を つくる のに べんり です。
This (frying) pan is good [convenient] for frying eggs.
Literally: “this + frying pan + は + sunny-side up fried egg + を + make + のに + convenient + です.”
Note: A sunny-side-up fried egg is an "eyeball-grill" because it looks like a yellow eye... I guess...

Have you ever noticed that we put -ing on the end of verbs when they come after "for?"

That's because we need a noun after "for."

We can't say: "This pan is good for fry eggs."

We have to say: "This pan is good for frying eggs."

Similarly, we shouldn't say "This pan は fried eggs を make convenient is."

We should say "This pan は fried eggs を make convenient is."

That makes sense because の can be used to turn verbs into nouns. (We recently had a very detailed lesson on this topic: [NDL #608] - Basics: Making Nouns with の.)

Grammar Rules

Put のに after a VERB in its dictionary form:

V るのに
for VERB-ing

We already saw this in our first example.

It is also possible to put just after a する-NOUN (i.e. a noun that expresses an action of some kind; a noun that can attach to する):

for NOUN-ing

Here's an example of that:

わたし は にほんご の べんきょう に、 フラッシュカード の アプリ を つかっています。
I use a flashcard app to study Japanese.
Literally: “I + は + Japanese (language) + の + studies + に, + flashcard + の + app + を + am using.”

We don't need to put の before に in this sentence because に has no problem attaching to a NOUN (=勉強). The only reason we put のに after VERBS is to that we can place に after a NOUN (because "VERB + の = NOUN," as we saw in the lesson mentioned earlier.)

On another note, you may be wondering why I translated that sentence as "to study Japanese" instead of "for studying Japanese." Either way would be fine, actually. Perhaps "for studying Japanese" would be a bit closer to the literal meaning of the Japanese. I thought that "to study Japanese" sounded more natural, though.

You will notice that のに is typically preceded by a phrase describing something's purpose or utility. Then it is followed by words meaning "convenient," "necessary," "useful," "use," and so on.

[purpose or utility] + のに + ["convenient," "necessary," "useful," "use," blah blah blah]

For example, we have already seen:

(this pan...) make a fried egg + のに + (is) convenient.
(I...) Japanese studies + のに + am using a flashcard app.

And in the following sentence we have:

(this suitcase...) go on a one-night trip + のに + (is) perfectly suited

この サイズ の スーツケース は いっぱく ふつか の りょこう に いく のに ぴったり だ。
This suitcase size is perfect for a one-night stay somewhere.
Literally: “this + size + の + suitcase + は + one (night's) stay + two day + の + trip / travel + に + go + のに + perfectly suited + だ.”

Sometimes you'll find that のに is followed by the particle , as in our next two examples:

ぎんこう こうざ を かいせつ する のに は でんわばんごう が ひつよう です。
A phone number is required to open a bank account.
Literally: “bank account + を + open / establishing + do + のに + は + phone number + が + necessary + です.”

かくやす こうくうけん を さがす のに は、 この サイト が べんり です。
This site is convenient for finding cheap airline tickets.
Literally: “cheap/discounted airline tickets + を + look for + のに + は, + this + website + が + convenient + です.”

When のに is followed by , it is possible to leave out the .

I explained earlier that putting に after a VERB is not correct grammatically, but it sounds OK in this case. This is because it's understood that the の is being omitted. Saying three particles in a row, のには, is a hassle!

That's my guess as to why it's acceptable, at least...

えいじゅうけん を しゅとく する に は いち ねん いじょう かかります。
It takes over one year to acquire permanent residence.
Literally: “permanent residency + を + acquisition + do + には + one year + more than + (it) takes.”

This is one of those grammar points that I have found useful over and over again when trying to express myself in Japanese.

Japanese speak のに convenient です!

So be sure to take your time getting a good understanding of this one.

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