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All About Japanese Particles: から (kara)

I. Follows nouns and the -te form of verbs: “from.”

1. After nouns, indicates the time at which something begins: “from, at.”

銀行は9から開いています。
Ginkō wa kuji kara aite imasu.
Banks are open from nine o’clock. / Banks open at nine.

日本語のクラスは、1から4時までです。
Nihongo no kurasu wa, ichiji kara yoji made desu.
Japanese class lasts from one to four o’clock.

2. After nouns, indicates the place from which something begins: “from, at.”

マラソンはここから出発します。
Marason wa koko kara shuppatsu shimasu.
The marathon starts [from] here.

社長はパリから飛行機でスペインへ行きます。
Shachō wa Pari kara hikōki de Supein e ikumasu.
The company president will go from Paris to Spain by plane.

*3. Certain idiomatic usages in which figurative references to place are made.

新聞をすみからすみまで読んだ。
Shinbun o sumi kara sumi made yonda.
I read the newspaper from beginning to end. (Lit, … from corner to corner.)

女の人の目から見れば、日本にはまだ差別がたくさんある。
Onna no hito no me kara mireba, Nihon ni wa mada sabetsu ga takusan aru.
From a woman’s viewpoint, there is still a lot of discrimination in Japan. (Lit., Looking from a woman’s eyes …)

4. After the -te form of verbs, indicates that an action begins immediately after the previous one ends: “after.”

昨日私は仕事が終わってから買物をしました。
Kinō watashi wa shigoto ga owatte kara kaimono o shimashita.
Yesterday I went shopping after finishing work.

明日の夜、食事をしてから映画を見ませんか。
Ashita no yoru, shokuji o shite kara eiga o mimasen ka.
How about seeing a movie tomorrow night after [having] dinner?

5. After the -te form of verbs, indicates the passage of time: “since, for.”

山田さんが大学を卒業してから5年になります。
Yamada-san ga daigaku o sotsugyō shite kara gonen ni narimasu.
Five years have passed since Yamada graduated from college.

あの二人が結婚してから20年だそうです。
Ano futari ga kekkon shite kara nijuu-nen da sō desu.
I understand that it is twenty years since those two were married. / I hear that those two have been married for twenty years.

6. Indicates materials used: “from.”

Note: Kara and de (#12, no. 3) are similar in usage. However, the former tends to accompany materials that are the result of a somewhat complex process, whereas the latter is generally used with materials that retain, or appear to retain, their original state, such as wood, rock, leather, paper, and glass.

ワインはぶどうから作ります。
Wain wa budō kara tsukurimasu.
Wine is made from grapes.

豆腐は何から作るか知っていますか。
Tōfu wa nani kara tsukuru ka shitte imasu ka.
Do you know what tofu is made from?

7. Indicates the agent of a passive verb (the person or thing per-forming the action): “by.”

Note: The agent of a passive verb is usually indicated by ni, but kara may replace ni, with no basic change in meaning, when (1) the noun preceding kara can be perceived more as the source of an action than as its agent and (2) when kara makes the meaning clearer by avoiding a repetition of ni (as the first example below). Examples of other verbs in conjunction with which kara can replace ni are ai suru (to love), kiku (to ask), meirei suru, shikaru (to scold), shiraberu (to examine).

私は大使からパーティーに招待されました。
Watashi wa taishi kara pātī ni shōtai saremashita.
I was invited to a party by the ambassador.

昨日課長から叱られた。
Kinō kachō kara shikarareta.
I was scolded by the section chief yesterday.

II . Follows verbs and adjectives to indicate a cause or reason: “since, because.”

1. Indicates a cause or reason: “since, because.”

Note: Kara can be replaced by no de (#26) in this usage. In general, (1) kara dicates a more subjective reason, no de a more objective one; and (2) no de softer and more polite than kara.

忙しかったから私たちは公園へ行きませんでした。
Isogashikatta kara watashi-tachi wa kōen e ikimasen deshita.
We didn’t go to the park because we were too busy.

あのレストランは安いからいつも混んでいます。
Ano resutoran wa yasui kara itsu urn konde imasu.
That restaurant is inexpensive, so it’s always crowded.

*2. Used trailingly at the end of a sentence, indicates censure or warning to the listener: “so you had better.”

そんなことばかり言っているとみんなに嫌われるから。。。
Sonna koto bakari itte iru to minna ni kirawareru kara …
If you say only those kinds of things, you’re going to be disliked by everyone [so stop saying them]. / If you keep saying things like that, people aren’t going to like it.

勉強しないと試験に合格できないから。。。
Benkyō shinai to shiken ni gōkaku dekinai kara …
If you don’t study, you won’t be able to pass the exam [so you had better study].

– Source: All about particles – A handbook of Japanese function words

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