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 '11 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 '11 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 '11 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 '11 at 3:20
  • @Lukman Hmm I've seen "なのに" used quite oftenly in anime.
    – Pacerier
    Mar 30 '12 at 21:17

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 '11 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 '11 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 '11 at 15:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.