2016年9月8日木曜日

"kara" and "dakara"

Sumimasen! I had a long break. I need to think about a good topic and have some spare time to write in both Japanese and English. This is my excuse.

“Kara” and “dakara” have the same meaning when attached to reasons, but their usages are not always the same. I often hear people mixing them up. There is also “de”, which has a similar function to “kara” and “dakara”.

“kara” is used when the speaker connects a reason and its consequence. The sentence structure is reason + kara + consequence. Please remember the order of these three elements. It is different from English.

Example 1-A
Reason (clause): kyo wa ame desu. (It’s raining today.)
Consequence (clause): shiai wa chushi desu. (The game is cancelled.)
Reason (clause) + Consequence (clause): 1) kyo wa ame desu kara, shiai wa chushi desu.
2) kyo wa ame da kara, shiai wa chushi desu. *“desu” becomes “da”, which is the casual form.
(Because it’s raining today, the game is cancelled.) 
Example 1-B
Reason/cause (noun): ame
Consequence (clause): shiai wa chushi desu. (The game is cancelled.)
Reason/cause (noun) + Consequence (clause): 3) ame de kyo no shiai wa chushi desu. (Because of rain, today’s game is cancelled.) 
Sentences 1 and 2 mean the same thing as sentence 3.

Example 2
2) watashi wa byoki da kara, kyo no yoru asobi ni ikenai.
3) byoki de kyo no yoru asobi ni ikenai. (”byoki” is a noun.)
(Because I am sick, I can’t go out tonight.) 
Example 3-A
Reason (clause): kesa jishin ga atta. (There was an earthquake this morning.)
Consequence (clause): densha ga okureta. (Trains were delayed.)
Reason (clause) + Consequence (clause): 1) kesa jishin ga atta kara, densha ga okureta. (Because there was an earthquake this morning, trains were delayed.) 
As the previous examples show, “desu kara” becomes “da kara”. However, “Jishin ga atta” doesn’t include “desu”. Therefore, you can’t say “jishin ga atta da kara” and “jishin da kara”. Also, “jishin kara” is missing a verb and is thus incomplete and incorrect.
Other common mistakes include “jishin da kara” and “jishin kara”. Make sure to avoid these. 

Example 3-B
Reason/cause (noun): jishin
Consequence (clause): densha ga okureta. (Trains delayed.)
Reason/cause (noun) + Consequence (clause): jishin de densha ga okureta. (Because of the earthquake, trains were delayed.) 

There’s one thing I definitely want you to understand: “da kara”, the casual form of “desu kara”, is different from the conjunction “dakara”. “dakara” is used between two sentences.
Kesa jishin ga atta. Dakara, densha ga okureta.
Sentence 1. (full stop) Dakara, sentence 2. In other words, the second sentence starts with “dakara”.

On the other hand, in the previous examples, the two clauses are linked and become one long sentence. In that case, “da kara” is in the middle of the sentence.
Kyo wa ame da kara, shiai wa chushi desu.
Can you see the difference? 


One last thing: How would you translate “kara” into English? Is it “because”? Or is it “so” or “therefore”?
It seems “so” or “therefore” works better when you look at the sentences above, but I think “because” is the English equivalent of “kara”.

When “kara” is used, it’s attached to a reason, not a consequence. Also, when asked the question “Why were the trains delayed?”, you respond “jishin ga atta kara”. If “kara” is “so” or “therefore”, this doesn’t make any sense.

However, when used in a conjunction, “dakara” can perhaps be translated as “so” or “therefore”.