How are these used in sentences to answer questions. The particular question I'm asking about looks like this. たんじょうびに 田中さんから 何を もらったんですか。

I'm given the choices からが、からで、 からに and からは.

The problem is when I've used online dictionaries they tell me different meanings for these phrasal expressions. I know that から by itself generally means from as in something from someone or somewhere. What I am confused with is the particles being used at the end of each から。

Can someone explain what the differences are?

Thank you.

  • Are you asking whether to replace から in the sentence by からが、…、からは? Also, the sentence seems to be a question, but it doesn't end in か。 or ?. Is it supposed to be like that? – Earthliŋ Jun 24 '15 at 12:02
  • Thanks for pointing that out. I mis-typed the last part of the question. – Justin Jun 24 '15 at 12:11

「たんじょうびに [田中]{たなか}さんから( ) [何]{なに}を もらったんですか。」

= "What did you get from Tanaka for your birthday?"

The sentence is already grammatical without a word in the blank after 「から」, but if you had to place one, 「」 woud be the only correct particle among the four.

Why 「は」, then? This 「は」 in 「田中さんから」 is the contrastive 「は」, not the subject-marker 「は」 that I would assume you are familiar with. The subject of this sentence is the unmentioned "you", not 「田中さん」 or the unmentioned "I".

How does the contrastive 「は」 fit in there? In short, the context. If the topic of a conversation were birthday presents, there would often be an assumption that one would receive presents from multiple people.

The nuance of the sentence with 「は」 is: "Among all the people who gave you presents, what did Tanaka give you?"

Moving on...

I will give a brief explanation of the other three phrases, but I would seriously warn you that reading it could only confuse you further if you currently were a real beginner. Some of the things I will have no choice but to mention belongs to way above the intermediate level.

First, 「からが」.

「Noun + (にして) + から + が」 (にして is optional)

= "even (noun), possibly among other things"


To use an example from that dictionary,

「大きさにしてからが私の物にそっくりだ。」 = "Even the size of it looks just like that of mine."

Next, 「からで」.

It is the continuative form of 「からだ」= "because ~~"


= "The reason I want to marry l'électeur is because I want to be wealthy, not because I love him."

Finally, 「からに」.

It has several meanings and usages, but I will only talk about the most common one, which is "by only (verb)ing".


An example from there is 「聞くからに強そうな名前」= "a strong-sounding name". (You do not even have to look at the kanji or anything to say it is strong.)

  • is が in 「からが」the subject marker or the contrast marker? – takwing Jun 24 '15 at 19:15

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