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I have learned about two uses of から which is for "from" and for "because". But for using of から for "because" that is warning that you have to use だから for Na adjective and unconjugated verb because it will be mistaken for から for "from". What I want to ask is how you use から to mean "from" for other than Na adjective and unconjugated verb (I adjective and verbal clause) without it being mistaken for から which means "because"?

  • I don't quite understand what you question is, but does this example help? From far away: tookukara. Because it is far: tooikara. – yu_ominae Oct 31 '16 at 12:17
  • Why is it tooku? – hafizh makmur Oct 31 '16 at 12:33
  • Hmmm, my Japanese grammar is quite rusty, but it changes the adjective to an adverb I think (and I only have a vague understanding of what an adverb is in English). Tookuhe itta: He went far away, vs. tooi tokoroni iru: He is in a far away place. In this case the place is far away. For lack of a better explanation, I think you should just remember that when kere is used as meaning "from", you use the -ku form of the -i adjective – yu_ominae Oct 31 '16 at 12:43
  • You should make it an answer! Thank you very much. It's not covered in the material I learned from (you have to use -ku). – hafizh makmur Oct 31 '16 at 12:44
  • I'm glad my confused explanation helped you :) It's not good enough to make an answer out of I feel though... Good luck in continuing your Japanese studies! – yu_ominae Oct 31 '16 at 12:54
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から in the sense of "from" must follow a noun or nominal phrase, or a verb in the conjunctive ‑te form. It simply doesn't make sense to put から after an adjective to mean "from" + [ADJECTIVE], much as it doesn't make sense in English to put "from" before an adjective: for instance, "from happy" or "from reddish" or "from sour", these are all just gibberish.

Note: The comments under the question introduce some confusion, by suggesting that turning an ‑i adjective into a ‑ku adverb allows one to add から in the "from" sense. This is a mistake, as the example phrase tōku kara is an exception.

Both 遠く (tōku) and 近く (chikaku) are special. These are composed as adverbs (the averbial ‑ku forms of regular adjectives ending in ‑i), but they have also lexicalized (see Wikipedia): that is, in certain contexts, they act instead as standalone words of their own with different grammatical rules. Specifically, depending on context, these two words change from adverbs to nouns: 遠く means both "distantly" as an adverb, and "a far-away location" as a noun; 近く means both "nearly, closely" as an adverb, and "a nearby location" as a noun. Thus, 遠くから (tōku kara) equates grammatically to [NOUN] + から ("from").

Using から ("from") after other ‑ku adverbs does not work. For instance, *良くから (yoku kara, "from well"), *美しくから (utsukushiku kara, "from beautifully"), *赤くから (akaku kara, "from redly") are all incorrect, and make about as much sense in Japanese as they do in English.

(PS: If this does not fully answer your question, please rephrase.)

  • "I went from happy to sad", "From brainy to brawny" etc is one counterexample. (Though it makes no sense to say something is wrong in Japanese because it's wrong in English, anyway) Thank you for your edit on lexicalised words though- really interesting! – rjh Nov 2 '16 at 12:42
  • @rjh: The counterexamples are interesting. However, they are also not quite counterexamples -- the English sentences have omissions, such as the word "being", as in "I went from being happy to being sad". Conceptually / semantically, what is being talked about in the English is still a nominal: "happy" not as an adjective, but as a state. – Eiríkr Útlendi Nov 16 '16 at 1:23
  • @rjh: Re: wrong in one language versus the other, my underlying point is that certain combinations don't make sense semantically. Since the asker of this particular question is clearly a beginner with Japanese, I thought it would make more sense to provide English examples by way of analogy. :) – Eiríkr Útlendi Nov 16 '16 at 1:24

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