In my understanding, ~てから、~てから、~します is used to express several consecutive actions that are done one after the others. However, I always find the sentence A below but I never find the sentence B. I think the sentence B conforms to the fact one action is done after the others.

  • A: 右に曲がって、まっすぐ行って、左に曲がって、まっすぐ行くと、突き当りにあります。

  • B: 右に曲がってから、まっすぐ行ってから、左に曲がってから、まっすぐ行くと、突き当りにあります。

Shortly speaking, when do we have to use the first grammar and the last one? Any comments are welcome.

  • 2
    Downvoting without any comment does not seem to be useful. – Friendly Ghost Jun 17 '15 at 9:12
  • 〜てから puts extra emphasis on the order of things. It is used much much less frequently than a basic て conjunction. (And when used, it makes the sentence read completely differently, in my opinion.) – oals Jun 17 '15 at 9:36
  • @oals: What is the difference? – Friendly Ghost Jun 17 '15 at 9:59
  • Well, emphasis, as I said. Exaggerated, your example would mean something like "Only after turning right, go straight. After going straight, turn left, and only after that, go straight." Nobody gives directions like that. – oals Jun 17 '15 at 10:51
  • @oals: OK. Thanks. You can make it as your answer. :-) – Friendly Ghost Jun 17 '15 at 10:58

The basic difference between a regular 〜て and a 〜てから is emphasis. てから emphasises the order things go in.

〜てから is used much much more rarely than a regular て for joining sentences. I'd estimate that for every てから, you'll see fifty sentences joined with a plain て. [1] When I see 〜てから used, it's immediately a flag for me that I should pay attention.

Here's a sample sentence from the Tanaka corpus:


After Grandma's sudden death, Grandpa began to age rapidly.

If written without から, it would read:


Grandma died suddenly, and Grandpa aged rapidly.

Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Another sentence, from an old JLPT test:


Mariko-san started basketball after she went into high school.


Mariko-san went into high school and started basketball.

There's nothing wrong with either sentence, but in the former sentence, you know that she didn't dabble in basketball before entering.

In your directions example, the 〜てから version would (exaggeratedly) read something like this:

Only after turning right, go straight. After going straight, turn left, and only after that, go straight.

Often, when used, it makes a big difference in how the sentence reads. So the rare times you run across it, pay attention to it.

[1] I'm not really sure why they're teaching it at such low levels since it's that rare.

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