Good news: から is one of the easier particles to use.
Here are some of the ways the particle から can be used...
から means "from" one physical location to another.
For example, you can say:
とうきょう から きょうと まで、 しんかんせん で にじかん はん です。
From Tokyo to Kyoto, it’s two and a half hours by shinkansen [bullet train].
Literally: “Tokyo + から (=from) + Kyoto + まで (=to / until), + shinkansen / bullet train + で + two hours + -half + です.”
In the above sentence, we also see まで, which is a particle meaning something like "as far as" or "until." We'll see it over and over again throughout our studies.
Although this is pretty much the same meaning as we have in our above sentence, note that から can also be used to describe where you come from:
アメリカ から きました。
I’m from the U.S.
Literally: “USA + から (=from) + came.”
I would not use this sentence if you're from the U.S. and still in the U.S. when you say it. Instead, you can say it when you're in Japan and explaining to people where you come from.
If you're still in the U.S. and want to say you're from the U.S., then you could say...
アメリカ しゅっしん です。
I’m from the U.S.
Literally: “USA + person’s origin + です.”
アメリカ じん です。
Literally: “USA + -person + です.”
から means "from" one time to another.
In addition to being used when describing physical locations that things come from, we can also say the time things happen "from" with から.
きのう の よる から ずっと おきてる。
I’ve been awake since last night.
Literally: “yesterday + の + night + から (=from/since) + continuously (for a long time) + am being awake.”
Or we could say:
こども の ころ から にほん の アニメ が すき でした。
I’ve liked Japanese anime since I was a kid.
Literally: “child + の + (approximate) time + から (=from/since) + Japan + の + anime + が + liked + でした.”
から means "because" or "so" when giving a reason for something.
This is a sentence pattern you'll be using all the time in Japanese:
ねむい から かえる ね。
I’m tired, so I’m gonna go home, OK?
Literally: “sleepy + から (=because) + return home + ね.”
It's worth mentioning that the reason always comes before から, and the accompanying action comes after it. We have the English in the same order in the above sentence, but it will typically be the opposite order when using the word "because:"
にほん の ぶんか が すき だ から にほんご を べんきょう しています。
I am studying Japanese because I like Japanese culture.
Literally: “Japan + の + culture + が + liked+ だ + から + Japanese (language) + を + studying + am doing.”
That's it for our intro to から.
Don't worry if you don't feel capable of forming the types of sentences presented in this lesson yet. The first step is simply to become able to recognize and understand various words and concepts. Then you can worry about mastering and using those words and concepts after that.
Or I guess you could just try to do it all at once. That'd stress me out, though...
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