351 - ため（に）(because of)
Although ため（に）is one of the grammar points that I learned pretty early in my Japanese studies, I was a bit late in figuring out the kanji for the word ため. Here's the kanji:
And though I doubt your teachers will write the kanji, you will come across it occasionally. So let's learn it. Also, it's a pretty sweet-looking kanji, if you ask me.
Suddenly, ridiculous dictionary entries copied word-for-word:
good; advantage; benefit; welfare; sake; purpose; objective; aim; consequence; result; effect; affecting; regarding; concerning
for; for the sake of; to one's advantage; in favor of; on behalf of; because of; as a result of
Dictionaries can be cruel sometimes, right?
- ため and ために are very common words/phrases that can have a variety of grammatical meanings.
- You need to learn 3 different uses of ため（に）in order to pass JLPT N4.
- Today we're looking at the ため（に）that corresponds to the definition "because of" or "as a result of" written above.
＝ because of; as a result of; on account of; since
We want to say:
Because of A, B.
So in Japanese, we can say:
For example, let's say that your PC sucks. You try to study, or work, or do pretty much anything worthwhile, and it starts giving you BS messages like this:
メモリ ぶそく の ため、 この そうさ を じっこう できません。
Due to a lack of memory, this operation cannot be carried out.
Literally: "memory + insufficiency + の + ため, + this + operation + を + execution + cannot do."
Because of A (=a lack of memory), B (=this operation cannot be carried out).
↓ ↓ ↓
A lack of memory ため, this operation cannot be carried out.
First, let's all note that the に after ため is optional.
The reason for this is an eternal mystery (to me at least), because the meaning is pretty much the same either way. I guess we should just learn to accept that there are some things we'll never understand... like the fact that humans think wrapping neckties around their throats looks professional. Weird.
The word directly before ため will be in plain form.
Here's the past tense of a verb and an i-adjective in plain form, both of which we'll see later in this lesson:
来る（くる // to come）
来ない（こない // does not come）
来なかった（こなかった // did not come）
高い（たかい // expensive; tall）
高かった（たかかった // was expensive; was tall）
because one did not come
because something was expensive/tall
If we have a noun before ため, then there needs to be a の in between the noun and ため. We already saw this in our first example:
because of a lack / insufficiency
If the word before ため is a na-adjective, then we will put な between the na-adjective and ため:
人気（にんき // popular）
because something is popular
Ugh... grammar rules are making me sleepy.
Let's just look at example and assume we're, uh, absorbing grammar rules and stuff...
かさ を もってこなかった ために、 びしょぬれ に なって しまいました。
Since I did not bring an umbrella, I got soaking wet.
Literally: "umbrella + を + bring (and) + did not come + ために, + soaking wet + に + became (regretfully)."
その ゲーム は にんき な ため、 どこ へ いって も うりきれている。
Since the game is popular, it is sold out anywhere you go.
Literally: "that + game + は + popular + ため, + where + へ + even if (you) go + is sold out."
こうくうびん は たかかった ため、 しかたなく ふなびん で おくった。
Since air mail was expensive, I had no choice but to send it by boat.
Literally: "air mail + は + was expensive + ため, + could not be helped (and) + ship mail + で + sent."
Oh yeah, also, note that this grammar point is often used in writing. You might not have many reasons to use it (because in spoken language, a simple から or other spoken "because" word tends to be fine), but you will probably come across it quite a bit.
Let me rephrase that: If you try to use this in normal speech when saying "because of," you're probably going to sound strange.
Wait until you've heard it 265 times out in the wild, then you'll get a sense of when it's appropriate to use.
Noticed any typos we've missed or other issues?
Report them here at this link.
Have questions about something in this lesson? Something not quite clicking yet? Join our discord community and discuss any questions / comments with us and fellow students.
You can join by heading to this link.