Can anyone explain what is the difference between そして and それから, and when to use which?


2 Answers 2


There is an article about the difference (although in Japanese): 「そして」/「それから」の一考察

As shown in the picture below, in a nutshell, this article says that それから involves a shift in viewpoint, while そして adds information from the same viewpoint.

enter image description here

Let me try to explain this.

When you describe something happens after something, basically you can use both そして and それから. But それから more explicitly focuses on the sequence of events (what comes next to something), and often implies the two things happens more or less independently. It's closer to "after that" in English. On the other hand, そして often implies the second thing happens as a result of the first thing ("and" in English).


Today, I'll do my homework, ______ watch TV.

Here, そして and それから are interchangeable, but それから sounds more like "and after that" while そして sounds more like "and then".

I studied seriously, and passed the examination.

Here そして is the natural choice because he passed the exam because he studied seriously. Such reason-result relationships are denoted only by そして. If you used それから here, it would sound like "in addition", which sounds awkward.

You must study seriously first, and after that, take the exam.

Here それから is the natural choice because the speaker is strongly emphasizing the proper order of what you need to do. (Maybe you can forget the picture above in this case)

When you list multiple things, you can use both それから and そして:

He can speak Japanese, English, ______ Spanish.

Here そして and それから are interchangeable, but それから is much less common in formal, written, or organized sentences.

He can speak Japanese and English. Oh, Spanish, too.

Here それから sounds more natural because the speaker was not "seeing" Spanish at first. In conversations, それから is a good word to add something as an afterthought (see this).

Um, let's see ... / And, well, er ...

Actually それから is a common filler word used when the speaker is trying to say something more. Maybe he's trying to "change his viewpoint".


Used as a conjunction there is no difference.
They both can be translated as "and" or "then".
そして can also be used as an adverb meaning "in that way"


  • 6
    Would you please expand a little bit your answer rather than giving raw links with a rough translation when the question is more about usage. I can understand that you want more rep because you need rep to perform some moderating task that may appeal to you. But, there is other ways to gain reputation rather than posting low quality answers. Indeed, you can edit other's posts to make them meet our standards. By doing so, you will be rewarded 2 points of rep each time one of your edit is accepted until you reach 2000 rep points. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 17:40
  • The question is "what is the difference between そして and それから" and I have answered that part. According to the dictionary, そうして and それから have identical definitions: そうして: 1 前述の事柄を受け、それに継続して、あるいはその結果生じる事柄を導く。 2 前述の内容を受けて、さらに付け加えることを表す。 それから: 前述の事柄に続いて、あとの事柄が起こることを表す。その次に。2 前述の事柄に加えて、あとの事柄を示す。 So they are pretty much synonymous.
    – hisao m
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 6:41
  • The second part is "when to use which". The problem is that it is a semantic question, and there is no correct answer for a semantic question. It is like asking "when to use car and automobile". According to the dictionary both "car" and "automobile" can be used as synonymous, but differente people will have different opinions about when to use which. There is no right answer about when to use which. It becomes a matter of personal opinion.
    – hisao m
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 6:41
  • 7
    Used as a conjunction there is no difference. -> If so, then why are they often not interchangeable? An advanced learner is better off posting questions in Japanese for Japanese people at Japanese websites, not here. -> Huh?? Why shouldn't an advanced learner post questions here?? I don't think we have such a rule in this forum. And, even if the OP was a beginner, it doesn't mean you can post inaccurate answers.
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:35
  • 4
    そして can also be used as an adverb meaning "in that way" <- No. For "in that way", you use そうして, not そして.
    – chocolate
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 14:42

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