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Why are we using から and not を in the following sentence?:

出て行く:同居している恋人が家から出て行って、別に住むようになる。

I ask because the normal particle with 出る is を (eg 家を出る) so why do we have から here? My dictionary has the following sentence:

部屋から出て来なさい|Come out of your room.

Do the 行く・来る verbs which normally take から in some way dominate over other verbs related to the action if the other verb is intransitive?

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It seems that both ~から出る and ~を出る are acceptable. But only を is used for idiomatic meanings. –  Yang Muye Mar 21 at 14:58
    
See A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, pp.351-2 for a summary of を and から in this usage. –  snailboat Mar 21 at 15:08
    
@snailboat: "を marks the location from which some movement begins, when focussing on both the old and new location...から should be used"...hmm, we seem to have both old and new in this sentence(?) Difficult to argue with that altho' it does not sound like an "intuitive rule"(?) but perhaps that is just me. –  Tim Mar 21 at 15:33

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

から is really only used to designate the location/point/time from which things start, whereas を is a rather generic particle.

Because of this, から makes the reader mentally picture a time range (今夜から明日にかけて雪になります), a motion (東京から大阪へは3時間かかります), a coverage (揺りかごから墓場まで), etc. In contrast, を just doesn't have this sense of motion/breadth/width. And so when this effect is useful, you'll intentionally choose から.

In the sentence you give, I think this is why the author went for から, even though を would have been OK, too. Here, we are talking about someone ending a relationship and moving out. The emphasis on the movement by から reinforces the split better, compared to 家を出て行って.

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Thanks - I think this is intuitive part that helps understand the principle "を marks the location from which some movement begins, when focussing on both the old and new location...から should be used"." in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, on pp.351-2 –  Tim Mar 28 at 3:00

Adding just a bit more to Mr. Kawaguchi's answer, I think that 家を出る is usually heard in a situation where someone (a teenager, a spouse) leaves the home where they are "supposed to be", often under not good circumstances (running away from home, domestic violence, imminent divorce, ...). C.f. 家出

In this case, the situation is about a presumably unmarried couple, where one person decides to move out of the place they were sharing, and because they were not married and therefore the 家 was not officially the place s/he was "supposed to be" から was a more appropriate word choice. から also seems to convey a sense of 離れる, whereas 家を出る feels like cutting off all contact.

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