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Is this sentence polite or casual? Or even better. Is it correct to use this casual type of sentences inside another more polite? This is the sentence:

時間がなかったからパーティーに行きませんでした。

Wouldn't it be more correct written this way?

時間がありませんでしたからパーティーに行きませんでした。

Thank you very much.

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    You may also want to consider whether it is rude within Japanese culture to say you couldn't go to something due to lack of time. – virmaior Oct 9 '14 at 11:48
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Both sentences have minor issues even though they may be considered good in Japanese as a foreign language. At least, both are grammatical.

「から」 actually sounds more casual/informal than many J-learners seem to think. That is the impression that I get from speaking to them. The more formal words with the same meaning would be 「ので」 and 「ため/ために」.

With 「です/でした」, which is not particularly polite or formal as some learners seem to think but, nonetheless, is on the politer side, you would want to avoid using 「から」.

In both of your sentences, 「から」 and 「でした」 are used in combination, which is what I called an issue at the beginning.

One more thing. You would sound nicer and more apologetic if you used 「行ませんでした」 than if you used 「行ませんでした」. Former means "I was unable to ~~" while the latter means "I did not ~~".

Thus, the sentence that I would recommend is:

「時間がなかったので、行けませんでした。」

Your second sentence sounds too polite in an awkward way, using 「ありませんでした」 in the sub-clause when the main clause contains a 「行きませんでした」. That is a little too much for a short sentence like that.

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  • 時間がなかったからパーティーに行きませんでした。
  • 時間がありませんでしたからパーティーに行きませんでした。

While the second one is relatively a bit politer than the first, neither of these are very casual nor polite. If you said these directly to the host of the party, the host would probably feel offended. If you said these to your close friend, he/she would feel that the "~でした" part is unnaturally polite.

If this sentence is to be seen by the host, the polite and formal version would be something like these:

  • どうしても都合が合わず、この度のパーティーは欠席させていただきました。
  • あいにく当日は先約があったため、残念ながらパーティーに参加することができませんでした。

The casual example would be:

  • 時間がなかったからパーティーに行かなかった(よ)。

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