ni and e
- Gakkō ni iku. "I'm going to school," where gakkō, "school," is the destination of iku, "go."
- Gakkō e iku. "I'm going to school," where gakkō, "school," is the destination of iku, "go."
- Gakkō ni iru. "I'm at school," where gakkō, "school," is the location of iru, "be;" not a destination.
- *Gakkō e iru. *"I'm to school," is not a possible construction since "be" is not a verb of motion.
- Tomodachi ni au "I'll meet my friends," where tomodachi, "friends," is the indirect object of au, "meet;" not a destination.
- *Tomodachi e au *"I'll meet to my friends," which is impossible because "meet" is not a verb of motion.
- Hon o kai ni itta "I went to buy a book," where kai ni, "to buy," shows purpose or intent, and is a verbal adverb; not destination.
- *Hon o kai e itta *"I went towards buying a book," is not possible because kai, "buying," cannot be a destination.
Indicating direction, using e instead of ni is preferred when ni is used non-directionally in proximity:
- Tomodachi ni ai ni Kyōto e itta. "I went to Kyoto to meet my friends."