Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 4: 4/13


To go to, To head toward


Place + (1) + ()



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About へいく

() is a common construction used when describing a place that someone/something is 'heading'. The particles and are mostly interchangeable, but there is a slight difference in meaning. has the nuance of 'going to', while has the nuance of 'heading to'.

In these examples, while they may seem the same at first glance, focuses much more on the journey, while puts more emphasis on the destination. This is true for other uses of and as well. will always put more focus on the destination of an action, where will put more emphasis on the distance traveled/between the origin and destination.




    To head to school.


    To head to the station.


    I will head to Tokyo.


    I will head to the classroom.


    To head toward a road.

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      へいく – Grammar Discussion

      Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

      • nekoyama


        There is a slight difference in nuance in that へ is more about the direction and に is more about the destination. You might see へ e.g. when talking about a bus route in terms of the final destination even though the bus also stops at other locations on the way.

        In general usage, に is vastly more popular than へ and it’s almost always a safe choice. Exceptions are mainly certain set phrases that use へ, and when it’s followed by the particle の as in への (there is no にの).

      • matt_in_mito


        @nfive, @nekoyama is absolutely right, but I want to add that when I was learning about this, I asked so many Japanese people what the difference was and most of them didn’t know and used them interchangeably.

      • Duolingo


        I know this topic is very old but @matt_in_mito made the point that I want to ask about.

        The grammar point for へ行くsays that ‘he’ and ‘ni’ are interchangeable but they have a different nuance to them.

         'ni' has the nuance of 'going to' - it focuses on the destination.
         'he' has the nuance of 'heading to'  - it focuses on the distance traveled

        Then BP follows up with the following two examples to complete their point.

        • ジョンは学校がっこうく。

        John is heading to school.

        • エルサは病院びょういんく。

        Elsa is going to the hospital.

        Everything is great up to here. But then the examples for ‘he’ consistently uses it in the ‘to go to’ sense, e.g.,

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