Japanese Sentences That End With Particles に (ni) and へ (he)

Unfinished sentences that end in に and へ are encountered quite frequently in Japanese. For example, these types of sentences can be found in advertisements, warning signs, song lyrics, greetings… It can sometimes be hard to decipher the meaning without knowing what follows after the particle に or へbut bearing the following in mind will help you interpret these sentences.

In unfinished sentences that end with particles に or へ, the verb which would logically follow is determined by the context and the usage of the particle which may be an indication of a direction of movement or of a change happening, or an instruction to do something or make something happen.

One reason sentences ending in に and へ are left unfinished is simply because it makes them shorter and easier to say or read quickly. And in the case of advertisements, shorter sentences tend to be more impactful and emphatic making it easier to leave an impression on the listener or reader.

As alluded to above, the context may give sufficient information as to a (reasonably) obvious completion of the sentence so that it can be left unsaid or unwritten. But without being a native speaker or having a lot of experience with the Japanese language, the logical completion may not be so obvious. Let’s look at a few example sentences and then examine how the に and へparticles are being used to give us some insight.

Example sentences that end in に and へ

1. お大事に。
2. こどもの周囲は禁煙に!
3. お金のこと、もっともっとカンタンに。
4. スマホ代が5分の1に!
5. 座席の受付・予約は、さらに簡単・便利に!
6. 川を渡る、君が済む街へ。
7. リアルとバーチャルの融合でボーダレスな未来社会へ。

The sentences listed above come from a variety of sources: 1) is a greeting to someone who is ill, 2) is a public health warning, 3), 5) and 7) are from advertisements, 4) is from an article title 6) are song lyrics. See references below.

Now let’s complete the sentences which will make it more clear how に and へ are being used, and hopefully they will make more sense as a whole.

Completed example sentences previously ending in に and へ

1. お大事に(してください)。
2. こどもの周囲は禁煙に(してください)!
3. お金のこと、もっともっとカンタンに(しましょう)。
4. スマホ代が5分の1に(なります)!
5. 座席の受付・予約は、さらに簡単・便利に(なりました)!
6. 川を渡る、君が済む街へ 。or( 君が済む街へ、川を渡っていく。)
7. リアルとバーチャルの融合でボーダレスな未来社会へ(入りましょう)。

In examples 1), 2) and 3) we see a couple different forms of にする. In 1) and 2) we have してください. The ~てください is the て form of a verb (する) plus ください which forms a request to the listener or reader. In 3) we have しましょう which is a polite volitional form of the verb する which could be translated as “let’s do…”.

You may have learned that one usage of にするis when you decide on something, but that is not the usage with these sentences. A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar indicates that the use of the particle に means that someone causes something to happen by doing something (or refraining from doing something).

More simply, in 1) and 2) the meaning is “please do [it]” or “please make [it] happen”. In 3) the meaning is “let’s do [it]” or “let’s make [it] happen”.  The English translations below should help make these explanations clear.

English translations of 1), 2) and 3)

1. お大事にしてください。“Please make [taking care of your health] important” or “Please take care of yourself”.  
2. こどもの周囲は禁煙にしてください! “Please make non-smoking happen around of children” or “Please refrain from smoking around children”.
3. お金のこと、もっともっとカンタンにしましょう。“Let’s make money matters much, much simpler”.

In examples 4) and 5) we have past and present forms of になる. You probably know that this means “to become”. A deeper explanation about に + なる comes from Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese Grammar which says, “As for「なる」, it is always used with the「に」 particle because “becoming” is not an action done to something else but rather a target of change.”

In 4) the target of change is the smart phone bill 「スマホ代」, and in 5) the target is seating reservations 「座席の受付・予約」.  Now let’s look at the English translations to help make things clear.

English translations of 4) and 5)

4. スマホ代が5分の1になります!“[Your] smart phone bill will become one fifth” or “Your smart phone bill will be just one fifth of what it is now”!
5. 座席の受付・予約は、さらに簡単・便利になりました!“Seating reservations have [now] become even easier and more convenient”!

Finally, in examples 6) and 7) we have the particle へ which A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar tells us is a particle that indicates the direction toward which some directional movement or action proceeds. Note that に could have also been used in these sentences, but because に has multiple meanings へ was probably chosen to make the meaning very clear. Let’s have a look at the English translations.

English translations of 6) and 7)

6. 川を渡る、君が済む街へ。or 君が済む街へ、川を渡っていく。“I’ll cross the river to go to the town where you live”.
7. リアルとバーチャルの融合でボーダレスな未来社会へ入りましょう。“Let’s enter into a borderless future society by combining real and virtual”.

So, when you come across these types of unfinished sentences ending in に or へ and its note quite clear what they mean at first glance, consider the context, and then think of what might most logically fit. Does someone need to make something happen? Is there some sort of change taking place? Is someone or something heading in a certain direction? This type of thinking will help you decipher the meaning.  

Unfinished sentences in Japanese often end in particles or connectives, for example, に or へ are particles, which we looked at in this article. Another common particle at the end of unfinished sentences is を (wo) which I have written about here. As for unfinished sentences ending with connectives, there is から (kara) which I have written about here. And the extremely common けど (kedo) and が (ga) which I have written about here.

As you study Japanese more, you will find that unfinished sentences are an important part of the Japanese culture itself, which I have written more about here.


Colten Dumonceau

My goal is to provide information that will help you learn Japanese as quickly and effectively as possible. I have spent more than ten years learning Japanese, mostly self-taught, from absolute beginner to an advanced level. I believe its possible to go much faster than I did. Please let me share with you the best learning strategies I have uncovered.

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