から (kara) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N5]

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'から (kara) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N5]'

Sandro Maglione

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から (kara) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N5]

The particle から (kara) is one of the most used particles in Japanese, and it has various meanings, including because, since, from.

The two main uses of から are:

  • Indicate an origin, in the sense of a starting point or place (from)
  • Indicate an explanation, reason or cause of what has been said (because, because)

から is then used in various expressions, including:

In this post we learn more about the meaning of から, how it is formed, and when から is used through real example sentences.


から to indicate an origin

The first use of から is to indicate the origin or starting point of something, both temporally (starting from...) and spatially (arrived from...).

In these cases から generally translates as from.

Starting point+から

Let's see a simple example to understand this meaning:

(らい)(ねん)から(かい)()します。

We will start from next year.

In this sentence the particle から follows the noun (らい)(ねん) next year. For this reason, から indicates that next year is the origin, the starting point of the indicated action, which in this example is begin ((かい)()する) in its polite form:

(かい)()する
(かい)()する
(かい)()します

Let's also see an example where から indicates a physical starting point:

このバスはニューヨークから()た。

This bus comes from New York.

In this case から indicates a place of origin, which is placed before the particle: ニューヨーク New York.

から~まで: from one point to another

Two particles that are often associated in a sentence are から and まで:

  • から indicates a point of origin (starting from...)
  • まで indicates a point of arrival (...until)

その()()(すみ)から(すみ)まで()んだ。

I have read that article from cover to cover.

この(かわ)からあの(やま)まで(はし)れ!

Run from this river to that mountain over there!

Difference between から and に

The particles から and に are similar in that they can both indicate an origin. For this reason, in certain contexts it is possible to use から or に while keeping the same meaning.

Specifically, when the sentence indicates a starting point or origin, then either から or に can be used:

ネコさんは(ゆう)(たつ)から(わら)われた。

Neko-san was teased by her friends.

ネコさんは(ゆう)(たつ)(わら)われた。

Neko-san was teased by her friends.

In this case the origin of the action is friends (ゆう)(たつ), so it is possible to use both particles.

However, when the sentence does not indicate the origin of an action, then から cannot be used, but に is used:

ネコはタナカにパーティーに()てもらった。

Neko received Tanaka's arrival at the party.

In this example the party (パーティー) is not the point of origin, but rather indicates the destination (location) of the action. For this reason, only the particle に can be used.

から: reason or cause

The second main use of から is to indicate a reason or cause that led to performing an action or being in a certain state.

In these cases から translates as because, since, the reason is that....

When から indicates a reason or cause it follows verbs, adjectives, and nouns. When から is preceded by an adjective in な or a noun, add だ:

Verb+から
Adjective[い]+から
Adjective[な]++から
Noun++から

(ねむ)いから、()る。

Because I'm sleepy, I'm going to sleep.

Another way から can be found to indicate a reason or cause is at the end of the sentence before だ (in informal situations だ can be omitted):

Sentence+から+(だ)

(ねむ)いからだ。

It's because I'm sleepy.

から in these cases is used to say:

  • Because (A), then (B)
  • Why (B)? It is because (A)

The (A) part of the sentence therefore indicates the reason or cause that led to (B).

(らい)(ねん)日本(にほん)()くから日本語(にほんご)(べん)(きょう)している。

Because I’m going to Japan next year, I’m studying Japanese.

てから: after having done

An expression that uses the particle から is てから. This expression consists in adding から after the て form of the previous verb:

Verb[て]+から

てから is used to indicate that something starts immediately after performing another action (temporal order):

(わたし)(とも)(だち)(でん)()してからうちを()た。

After calling my friend, I left the house.

In the example we can see how the second action going out (()た) follows in temporal order the first action calling ((でん)()して).

てから implies a sense of planning or control, and emphasizes the chronological order of events.

When you do not want to emphasize the importance of the temporal order of events, you can omit the particle から and simply leave the て form:

ジョギングをしてシャワーを()びた。

After jogging I took a shower.


Examples of から

パーティーは8()から(はじ)まる。

The party starts from 8 o’clock.

(だれ)から()いたの?

Who did you hear it from?

その(はなし)(せん)(せい)から()きました。

I heard that story from my teacher.

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