457 - に対して (toward)

Tell me, what does に対して (にたいして) mean in the following sentence:

わたしは彼氏の元カノに対して、強く嫉妬してしまいます。
わたし は かれし の もとカノ にたいして、 つよく しっと して しまいます。
I get very jealous over my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.
Literally: “I + は + boyfriend + の + ex-girlfriend + に対して, + strongly + jealousy + do (and) + end up doing.”

If you answered, "I have no idea," then you are correct!

I suck at using and understanding に対して also, so we're friends now.

But since we have to pass tests and stuff, we should probably study it a bit...


JLPT N3: に対して (toward; to; regarding)

に対して is used to point out a person or other target that is the object of one's actions or feelings. The closest translation in English is something like "toward" or "to." I have also seen dictionaries translate it as "regarding" or "in regard to."

The reason it confuses me so often is that I tend to have a hard time understanding how it's different from just saying に. I have a book that says に対して is used "when action or feeling directly affects other party." Rei and I are pretty sure that's meaningless grammar mumbo jumbo, however.

So we're gonna stick with saying it means "toward," "to," or "regarding" and try to avoid overthinking this stuff.


The good news about に対して is that it's very easy to construct sentences with it.

Just put a noun in front of it!

NOUNに対して

We already saw this with our first example:

わたしは彼氏の元カノに対して、強く嫉妬してしまいます。
わたし は かれし の もとカノ にたいして、 つよく しっと して しまいます。
I get very jealous over my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.
Literally: “I + は + boyfriend + の + ex-girlfriend + に対して, + strongly + jealousy + do (and) + end up doing.”


We're going easy on the grammar talk this lesson, so please take your time going through our handful of example sentences...


児童手当は子供を養育する人たちに対して与えられるものです。
じどう てあて は こども を よういく する ひとたち にたいして あたえられる もの です。
Childcare allowance is given to people raising children.
Literally: “childcare allowance + は + child + を + bringing up + do + people + に対して + is bestowed upon + thing + です.”


戦場カメラマンが投稿した1枚の写真に対して、世界中から多くのコメントが集まった。
せんじょう カメラマン が とうこう した いちまい の しゃしん にたいして、 せかいじゅう から おおく の コメント が あつまった。
The photo posted by the war photographer collected comments from (people) all over the world.
Literally: “war photographer (=battlefield + cameraman) + が + posting + did + 1 (flat object) + の + photograph + に対して, + around the world + from + many + の + comment + が + gathered / collected.”


When you're feeling extra fancy, you can put a NOUN after 対して, in which case it changes to 対する (たいする), like this:


彼は体の不自由なに対する思いやりがまったく無い。
かれ は からだ の ふじゆうな ひと にたいする おもいやり が まったく ない。
He has absolutely no sympathy [consideration] for people with physical disabilities.
Literally: “he + は + body + の + impairment + person + に対する + consideration / sympathy + が + entirely / complete + nonexistent / (is) not.”

And you're done!

Like I said earlier, I'd become very familiar with the examples in this lesson, as you'll be coming across に対して (and に対する) quite frequently in your exploration of the Japanese language.




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