434 - てから

JLPT N5: てから

We already know how to express an order of actions. First this happens, then this, then that, and so on. In this case we use the て form to connect the verbs and list the actions in a sequential order.

Like this:

朝起き、会社に行っ、仕事をし、帰っ寝る。
あさ おきて、 かいしゃ に いって、 しごと を して、 かえって ねる。
I wake up in the morning, go to work, do my job, come back home, and go to sleep.
Literally: "morning + get up (and) + company + に + go (and) + work + を + do (and) + come back home (and) + sleep."

Pretty cool how we can already make such long sentences, right?


But we can also add から in there. If you remember, から is a particle which can indicate a spacial or temporal starting point or a source of some action or thing.

We use てから to indicate that a second action is done only after completing a first action:

宿題を全部やってから遊びに行きます。
しゅくだい を ぜんぶ やってから あそび に いきます。
I'll go play after I've finished all of my homework.
Literally: "homework + を + all + after having done (=do [and] + from) + playing + に + go."


In this sentence you can see how the speaker is first finishing his homework and then going to play.


So let's get to formation:

Take the te-form of a verb and add から.

V て + から

A few verbs:

考える (かんがえる // to think about)
やる (やる // to do)
飲む (のむ // to drink)
洗う (あらう // to wash)
入る (はいる // to enter)
踏む (ふむ // to step on)
投げる (なげる // to throw)
あげる (to give)
する (to do)

And now, in their te-forms:

考えて (かんがえて // think about [and])
やって (やって // do [and])
飲んで (のんで // drink [and])
洗って (あらって // wash [and])
入って (はいって // enter [and])
踏んで (ふんで // step on [and])
投げて (なげて // throw [and])
あげて (give [and])
して (do [and])

And now with から attached:

考えてから (かんがえてから // after having thought about)
やってから (やってから // after having done)
飲んでから (のんでから // after having drunk)
洗ってから (あらってから // after having washed)
入ってから (はいってから // after having entered)
踏んでから (ふんでから // after having stepped on)
投げてから (なげてから // after having thrown)
あげてから (after having given)
してから (after having done)

I hope you are already a little more comfortable with the て-form of verbs. As you can see―and will notice more often the further you get in your studies―knowing the て-form is crucial for learning Japanese.

Note: For those that are curious, する and やる can both mean "to do," but やる is more casual.


1杯飲んでから帰りましょうよ。
いっぱい のんでから かえりましょう よ。
Let's go home after having a drink!
Literally: "one glass + after having drunk (=drink [and] + from) + let's go home + よ"


~てから is easily translated as "after having verbed" or "after verbing". But you can also turn some sentence parts around in translation so that they use before instead.

You can just keep that in mind when you want to diversify your translations. This shouldn't change the meaning of the sentence though.


温泉に入るときは、体を洗ってから入ってください。
おんせん に はいる とき は、 からだ を あらってから はいって ください。
When entering a hot spring bath, please wash your body before you get in the bath.
Literally: "hot spring + に + to enter + time / when + は, + body + を + after having washed (=wash [and] + from) + enter + please."


So instead of saying that you enter the bath after washing your body, we wrote that you wash your body before you enter the bath.


うちに来るときは、連絡してから来てください。
うち に くる とき は、 れんらく してから きて ください。
Please notify us before coming over.
Literally: "our place + に + come + time / when + は, + contact + after having done (=do [and] + from) + come + please."


もう少し考えてから決めよう。
もうすこし かんがえてから きめよう。
Let's decide after we've thought about it a little more. // I think I'll decide after I've thought about it a little more.
Literally: "A bit more + after having thought (=think [and] + from) + let's decide"



Note that we cannot use ~てから for two actions that always occur in the same order.

For example, we cannot use ~てから in the following sentence:

× 彼はテレビをつけてから、アニメを見始めた。
× かれ は テレビ を つけてから、 アニメ を みはじめた。
× He started watching anime after turning on the television.
× Literally: "he + は + television + を + after having turned on + anime + を + started to watch."

You cannot watch anime on a TV without turning the TV on first, so this usage of ~てから is unnecessary.

Instead, the simple usage of the te-form is accurate here:

○ 彼はテレビをつけて、アニメを見始めた。
○ かれ は テレビ を つけて、 アニメ を みはじめた。
○ He turned on the television and started to watch anime.
Literally: "he + は + television + を + turn on (and), + anime + を + started to watch."



Similarly, we cannot use ~てから when the second half of the sentence is a state of being. We only use ~てから for two actions.

For example, this sentence is incorrect:

× 宿題を全部やってから暇だ。
× しゅくだい を ぜんぶ やってから ひま だ。
× After I did my homework, I had free time.
× Literally: "homework + を + entirely + after having done + free time + だ."

The second half of the sentence (暇だ) is not an action (it's a state), so we do not need to use ~てから.

Also note that you cannot have more than one ~てから in a single sentence.


To summarize, just remember that ~てから is used to describe two actions while emphasizing that the first action will definitely be done first.


Bonus Sentence:

暇だなー。
ひま だ なー。
I'm so bored. // I have nothing to do.
Literally: "(having) free time + だ + なー."


This lesson was written by Dennis, a guest contributor:




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