When "と" and "から" can both be translated as the English preposition "from", do they have the exact same meaning/nuance and are they interchangeable?

For example, in the sentence 「 確【たし】かに中沢{なかざわ}部【ぶ】長【ちょう】 離【はな】れることは残【ざん】念【ねん】だ。」, can the "と" be replaced with "から"?

Likewise, in this sentence 「やめる前【まえ】に直【ちょく】接【せつ】彼女【かのじょ】から聞【き】きました。」, is "から" replaceable with "と"?

1 Answer 1


That use of should be conceptualized as “with”[1], and not “from”.

“Xと離れる” is “to separate[2] with X”. Since you can both separate with and separate from something, both and から work here (albeit with the subtle difference between “separating with” and “separating from” something[3]).

“Xから聞く” is “to hear from X”. Replacing this with would change the phrase to mean “to hear with X”, as in “I heard it with her (彼女と聞いた)”. Alternatively, the can function as a quotative particle, where “Xと聞く” would mean “to hear that X”, as in “I heard that she is a girlfriend (彼女と聞いた)”.


  1. In the sense of either “accompanied by” (I will go with you) or “in some particular relation to” (She agreed with me), but not “by use of” (Cut with a knife). See also: Confusion with Japanese particle と in its multiple uses.
  2. Verb as used without object. (When used with object, the verb is 離す)
  3. I understand that in English “separate from” is the standard preposition choice here. I just wanted to illustrate the から/と difference. “To separate from my parents (親から離れる)” connotes a starting point in space/time from which I am the one moving away, while “to separate with my parents (親と離れる)” feels more like a mutual split where I am not necessarily the primary mover. (To complicate things a bit, since can also mean with as in “accompanied by”, you can say for example グループから親と離れる to mean “to separate from the group with my parents”.)
  • Well... in my opinion Xと離れる does not mean either "part from X" nor "part with X", which would indicate some kind of volitional break-up, but rather simple "be/get separated from" regardless of the reason.
    – macraf
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 8:52
  • @macraf Good catch, “separate” seems to be a better translation that will cover all uses of 離れる. I was thinking more in the narrower 別れる sense. Fixed.
    – mirka
    Commented Oct 11, 2015 at 9:12
  • By "separate with" I assume you don't mean the usage of it in "I separated from the group with John" or the usage of it in "He separated the cheese block with a knife"? Do you have an example? Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 0:00
  • 1
    @DariusJahandarie I guess my answer was a little too reductive. I added some footnotes, if that helps.
    – mirka
    Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 5:25
  • 1
    Thanks, that helps a lot! In particular the "the primary mover" bit really highlights the different I think. Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 5:30

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