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We know that both から and で can express reason, and that から emphasis on a process of change in comparison to で. If this is the prerequisite, then both "...から死ぬ" and "...で死ぬ" can be said, though they have different meanings:

1)...から死ぬ: some bad thing has changed eventually to death. For example: 肺炎から死んだ means: The death is a result of a change in a medical condition of pneumonia.

2)...で死ぬ: The death is due to some thing. This thing only has causal reelationship to the death, but it doesn't have to necessarily to develop into the death. For example: 肺炎で死んだ means: Someone died of pneumonia, but it didn't start from pneumonia, rather than something others.

But in the reality, I only hear people say ...で死ぬ rather than ...から死ぬ, why?

I would really appreciate it if you can answer my question with detailed examples and argumentations, thank you very much!!!

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    We just don't say 〜から死ぬ. It sounds like a clumsy translation from English. I'm not sure if you will get any more detailed explanation.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 5, 2023 at 14:53
  • I assume the "..." part is supposed to be a noun, is it? Some verb forms happen to be compatible, though. Oct 6, 2023 at 11:17

2 Answers 2

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My suspicion, as a non-native speaker, is that ~から for reasons works best when the ~ precedent is a statement, rather than a noun.

  • 毒【どく】を飲【の】みましたから死【し】んだ

Even then, ~ので sounds better to my ears for clearly stating a reason, because of which the following verb clause occurs:

  • 毒【どく】を飲【の】みました[の]{●}[で]{●}死【し】んだ

The construction 「[NOUN]から」 sounds less to me like the [NOUN] is the reason, and instead seems at first glance to be more like "from [NOUN]" as an almost locative kind of thing. As in, "from [NOUN], something comes / develops / derives / etc."


Again, I'm not a native speaker, and I invite any constructive input from native speakers. :)

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    Your sentences would sound better if you changed 飲みました to 飲んだ. But they both sound like answers to the specific question, why did he die?, rather than how. And actually, the one with から sounds more natural as that, although it has a dismissive tone suggesting the question is silly, like saying, what else could've been the reason? I'm having a hard time imagining a context in which the one with ので sounds completely natural. It sounds almost like saying, the situation was that he (or someone else) took poison and therefore he died, or even he chose to die.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 5, 2023 at 22:22
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    To tell someone the cause of death as new information, I would say 毒を飲んで死んだ.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 5, 2023 at 22:22
  • @aguijonazo, I've run into dialectal differences in other areas, where my past experience living in the Tōhoku has led to a few interesting imbalances in my perception of Japanese -- any chance that the ので・から difference you note might be different in other regions? Oct 5, 2023 at 22:59
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    In general, から gives an impression that the speaker is presenting a reason as a fact and therefore can sound subjective and sometimes too assertive. The reason-consequence relationship is more circumstantial with ので and it tends to sound softer. I don't know Tohoku dialects but modest Tohoku people might have a stronger tendency to avoid the former than speakers of other dialects. It's just a speculation.
    – aguijonazo
    Oct 7, 2023 at 23:07
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It seems like the [noun]から[verb] construction works only when the verb describes an action that can be performed intentionally, or in other words the verb is a 意志動詞. (I won't talk about cases where the first part is a verb, because the question doesn't seem to be asking about them.)

I think 死ぬ doesn't work well here because 死ぬ is not (completely) a 意志動詞, and the cause 肺炎 suggests a lack of intention. In comparison, 絶望から自殺する would work better because it suggests intentionality.

In the case below, 嬉しさで can work as well as 嬉しさから:

https://www.aozora.gr.jp/cards/000617/files/48569_33319.html

「貰らひ」に來た時の事を俺に話した。
放還される前の晩の隱し抑へた嬉しさから
俺に話した

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