In Tae Kim's Guide there is a conversation that goes like this:

Tom: 時間がなかった。

Mary: だからパーティーに行かなかったの?

I was wondering is 「だから」 actually a short-form of 「それだから」 ?

Similarly, in the sentence 「なので、友達に会う時間がない。」, is 「なので」 actually a short-form for 「それなので」 ?

I was thinking does the 「それ」in 「それだから」have anything to do with the 「それ」in this question. Does the 「それ」in「それだから」imply that the "thing" is not known by the speaker but by the listener?

  • 3
    I wouldn't call it "short-form", but rather "an implied context". Japanese tends to omit a topic once it's in the context of the conversation, unlike English where you need to include "I/my/me" in almost each sentence of your autobiography essay.
    – Lukman
    Sep 20, 2011 at 2:44
  • Actually, それなので and それだから sound less grammatical to me than a bare なので or だから...
    – Zhen Lin
    Sep 20, 2011 at 2:54
  • @Zhen To me too. But strangely それなのに sounds better than なのに .. is there a way to explain the difference objectively rather than "that sounds fine, that one over there doesn't" kind of answer?
    – Lukman
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:11
  • 3
    Zhen's concern disappears if そうなのに and そうだから are used.
    – user458
    Sep 20, 2011 at 3:20
  • @Lukman Hmm I've seen "なのに" used quite oftenly in anime.
    – Pacerier
    Mar 30, 2012 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


This question is difficult to answer without a definition of what is and isn't a "short-form", but here are some thoughts.

なので and だから (and けれど, が, etc.) are in modern Japanese able to function as fully independent sentence-beginning lexemes. They are not "short forms" of そうなので etc. any more than 書いた is a "short form" of 書いたり/書いたる. (However, they are obviously etymologically related to clause-final usage of なので and だから, just as 書いた is etymologically related to 書いたり/書いたる.)

As evidence, consider that as discussed in comments in many cases it is not possible to substitute a "long form" without changing the implication somewhat. Here are some intuitive observations about my own idiolect (note that I am not a native speaker).

  • それだからパーティーに行かなかったの?, そうだからパーティーに行かなかったの?, etc. are not at all equivalent to だからパーティーに行かなかったの? Note that だから is a couple hundred years old and was sometimes written with kanji making it clear that it was not considered short for anything, e.g. 然から. (That's from a mid-19th century example in 日本国語大辞典.)
  • Sentences beginning with が can always be rewritten だが or ですが, but again, not それだが or そうだが in most cases.
  • なので strikes me as the least resistant to a そうなので rewrite -- but still pretty resistant, and more to the point, such rewrites sound awkward and unnatural even if technically allowed.

And here are some counterarguments to the above:

  • First, the prescriptive argument: なので or が have to imply something before them because なので and が can't appear independently. This is a "just because" sort of argument similar to "You have to use 'were' for the subjunctive case in English; 'If I was' is just plain wrong." I do not put much stock in this sort of thinking (although there are times when a certain strictly defined style is required, and this should not be ignored) but I include it for completeness. I do know if there is any prescriptive objection to だから or です.
  • Second, the "invisible structure" argument: these words don't actually include a それ or a そう, but that at some level their use implies something equivalent to それ or そう in the structure, and therefore, the "full form" is "there" in some sense. I am not sure if any school of linguistic analysis would actually make such an argument in this case, but I include it as a possibility.
  • heys thanks for the answer, btw do you think that the 「それ」in「それだから」 have something to do with the 「それ」in qweop.com/uc ? What are your thoughts on 「それだから」、「あれだから」、「これだから」 ?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 21, 2011 at 14:44
  • @Pacerier Not sure I understand the question -- I'm saying that だから isn't the same as それだから. But if you were to rewrite to something like "それでパーティーに行かなかったの?", then clearly それ is correct and あれ/これ would be wrong: you're referring to something the speaker just raised.
    – Matt
    Sep 21, 2011 at 20:23
  • hmm I was wondering like, do we use 「あれだから」instead of 「それだから」 when the "thing/issue" is known by both parties?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 22, 2011 at 15:55

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