How to use kara in Japanese for reason?

by Katherine
(USA)

I know kara in Japanese can mean "from" as in from/to. How about the meaning for "reason"? How to use it in a Japanese sentence? Please explain. Thanks.

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Reply:

Hi Katherine, から (kara) with the meaning of "from" has been mentioned in Japanese time expression in basic Japanese lesson 10.

There is another meaning of から (kara) which states the reason in a sentence, and is similar to "because" or "since" in English. Here is the sentence pattern:

Sentence 1 (Polite Style/Plain Style) から Sentence 2


The から (kara) in the above sentence pattern is referring to the reason stated in sentence 1 and therefore the result happened in sentence 2.

For this sentence pattern, it can take polite style or plain style in front of から (kara).

The meaning is the same for using both styles except that using polite style sounds slightly more polite than using plain style.

If you have to speak to customer or your boss, choose the polite style. However, for most situations in daily conversation, plain style should be ok.

Example 1
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私は映画が好きだから毎晩 DVD を見ています。
watashi wa eiga ga suki da kara maiban DVD wo mite imasu
Meaning: I like movie, therefore I am watching DVD every night.

Be careful on where you place から (kara). The reason is always placed in front of から (kara). Reason から -> what happen/result

The following example is wrong because it placed the result in front of から (kara)...

Example 2 (wrong example)
---------

毎晩 DVD を見ていますから私は映画が好きです。 X
maiban DVD wo mite imasu kara watashi wa eiga ga suki desu X
Meaning: I am watching DVD every night, therefore I like movie. X

Let's look at some good examples.

Example 3
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今日は妻の誕生日だから花を買います。
Kyou wa tsuma no tanjoubi da kara hana wo kaimasu
Meaning: Today is my wife's birthday, therefore I will buy flower.

Example 4
---------

私は日本語が分からなかったから日本でテレビを見ませんでした。
watashi wa nihongo ga wakaranakatta kara nihon de terebi wo mimasendeshita
Meaning: I didn't understand Japanese, therefore I didn't watch TV in Japan.

If you want to use polite style, you can say...

私は日本語が分かりませんでしたから日本でテレビを見ませんでした。
watashi wa nihongo ga wakarimasendeshita kara nihon de terebi wo mimasendeshita
Meaning: I didn't understand Japanese, therefore I didn't watch TV in Japan.

Related Page
------------
Intermediate lesson 20: Japanese Grammar for Cause and Reason.

Hope this helps,
Kia Leng

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Another Japanese term for "reason"
by: Kia Leng

There is another term ので (node) which has similar meaning with から (kara). I will probably cover it in future lessons.

Another Japanese term for "reason"
by: Kia Leng

As promised, here is the link to the lesson on ので (node), which has the similar meaning as から (kara).

Japanese Grammar for Cause and Reason - ので (node).

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