Japanese Particle de (で) for Cause or Reason -
Intermediate Lessons: 34

In this lesson, I am going to introduce another function of Japanese particle de (で).

You know that most Japanese particles have multiple functions. Depending on situations, the same particle can represent different meanings in a sentence.

To recall what you have learned in the previous lessons about the particle de (で), check out basic lesson 16 and intermediate lesson 18.

Japanese particle de (で) sometimes indicates a cause or a reason. But there's a regulation that you need to take note of.

Let's see what's the sentence pattern like...

Noun Result
(Casue/Reason)

Note: Expressions containing volition are not used as predicates

The "Noun" that is often used with this particle de (で) as a cause is a noun which indicates a particular kind of event, such as 事故 (jiko - accident), 火事 (kaji - fire), 大雨 (ooame - heavy rain), 大雪 (ooyuki - heavy snow), 地震 (jishin - earthquake), 津波 (tsunami - tidal wave), 病気 (byouki - sickness), 仕事 (shigoto - work), etc.

As you can see, these events are mostly natural phenomena, disasters, happenings, events, etc.

Let's use some examples to show how to use this function of Japanese particle de (で)...

Japanese Particle de for Cause or Reason

  1. 事故 電車が止まりました。
    jiko de densha ga tomarimashita

    Meaning: The train was stopped due to accident.

  2. 台風 家が壊れました。
    taifuu de ie ga kowaremashita

    Meaning: The house was destroyed due to typhoon.

  3. 大雨 木が倒れました。
    ooame de ki ga taoremashita

    Meaning: The tree fell down due to heavy rain.

  4. 地震 屋根が崩れました。
    jishin de yane ga kuzuremashita

    Meaning: The roof of the house collapsed due to earthquake.

  5. 火事 怪我をしました。
    kaji de kega wo shimashita

    Meaning: I got injured due to fire.

  6. 病気 会社へ行けませんでした。
    byouki de kaisha e ikemasendeshita

    Meaning: I couldn't go to the office due to illness.

Regulation for using Japanese Particle de (で) as a Cause/Reason

You cannot have expression containing speaker's volitional action in the Result sentence. Therefore this particle is used in the following way:

-> Due to a cause/reason, an uncontrollable event happened.

Let's use some examples to show what it means in the regulation...

  1. 病気 学校を休むつもりです。 X
    byouki de gakkou wo yasumu tsumori desu X

  2. 病気 学校を休みたいです。 X
    byouki de gakkou wo yasumitai desu X

  3. 病気 学校を休みました。 O
    byouki de gakkou wo yasumimashita O

Based on the regulation, only example 3 is correct because the other two examples show the speaker's volitional actions in the Result sentences.

In example 1, you are thinking of being absent from school. You have a choice of going or not going to school. But you are thinking of not going to school because of your illness. This is a volitional action and thus failed to meet the regulation.

In example 2, you want to be absent from school. It's your desire since たい-form is being used. As this's also a volitional action, it failed to meet the regulation.

For example 3, the Result sentence 学校を休みました (gakkou wo yasumimashita) can be a volitional action by itself. However, because it's used together with the particle de (で) in the sentence, it's no more a volitional action. You couldn't go to school due to your illness and you have no choice but to stay at home.

For example 2 and 3, you have to use から (kara) or ので (node) to make the sentences correct.

  1. 病気だ から 学校を休むつもりです。 O
    byouki da kara gakkou wo yasumu tsumori desu O

    Meaning: I am sick, therefore I am thinking of not going to school.

  2. 病気な ので 学校を休みたいです。 O
    byouki na node gakkou wo yasumitai desu O

    Meaning: I am sick, therefore I want to be absent from school.

Summary

Therefore, for Noun で Result, the Result has to be:

  1. an uncontrollable event or result.

  2. an action which you are obliged to do. Volitional actions like つもりです (tsumori desu), intention or desire cannot be used here.

Practice on using Japanese Particle de (で) as a Cause/Reason

Let's do some practice to check if you understand when to use Japanese particle de (で) as a cause/reason correctly. Connect the two sentences in the following examples. The first sentence is the reason and the second sentence is the result. Use the particle de (で) if you think it can be used. Use から (kara) if you think otherwise.

  1. 来週は夏休みです。日本へ遊びに行きます。
    raishuu wa natsu yasumi desu. nihon e asobi ni ikimasu

  2. 台風です。外へ出られません。
    taifuu desu. soto e deraremasen

  3. 病気です。学校を休もうと思います。
    byouki desu. gakkou wo yasumou to omoimasu

  4. 病気です。病院へ行きました。
    byouki desu. byouin e ikimashita

  5. いい天気です。散歩をします。
    ii tenki desu. sanpo wo shimasu

Answers

  1. 来週は夏休みだ から、日本へ遊びに行きます。
    raishuu wa natsu yasumi da kara, nihon e asobi ni ikimasu
    Meaning: Next week my summer vacation begins, therefore I am going to Japan to have fun.

    Going to Japan for vacation is not an obligation. You can choose to go or not to go. So it's a controllable event. Therefore you cannot use particle de (で). Instead you have to use から (kara) here.

  2. 台風 外へ出られません。
    taifuu de soto e deraremasen
    Meaning: I cannot go outside due to typhoon.

    This is an uncontrollable event. You have no choice but to stay at home because of the typhoon. Therefore you can use particle de (で) here.

  3. 病気だ から、学校を休もうと思います。
    byouki da kara, gakkou wo yasumou to omoimasu
    Meaning: I am sick, therefore I am thinking of being absent from school.

    休もうと思います (yasumou to omoimasu) is the same as 休むつもりです (yasumi tsumori desu). Both are your intentions. You can decide if you are going to school or being absent from school. So it's a controllable event. Therefore you have to use から (kara) here.

  4. 病気 病院へ行きました。
    byouki de byouin e ikimashita
    Meaning: I went to the hospital due to sickness.

    You went to the hospital due your sickness which was an uncontrollable event. You have no choice. Therefore you can use particle de (で) here.

  5. いい天気だ から、散歩をします。
    ii tenki da kara, sanpo wo shimasu
    Meaning: The weather is good, therefore I am going for a walk.

    You can decide to go for a walk or do other things that you like. So it's a controllable event. Therefore you have to use から (kara) here.

How well have you done? Have you got all your answers right?

Related Pages

Basic Lesson 16: Particles to (と) and de (で).

Lesson 18: Particle de (で) with more Functions.

Lesson 20: Japanese Grammar for Cause and Reason.

FAQ Page: How to use から (kara) in Japanese for reason.


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