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Someone on another website (reddit) was arguing that "から" should not be used in written Japanese (which this person then clarified to mean formal, literary written Japanese), and there are some websites that more or less seem to advocate this view.

However, my feeling was that this can't possibly be true; while formal writing will almost certainly not use "だから" to begin a sentence, it is easy to find numerous of examples of "から" (meaning specifically "because", rather than "from", etc.) used in formal writing in forms or contexts like "であるから", "...があるから...", etc., and I doubt I could find a single book (or even article of reasonable length) that doesn't use "から" at all.

Is it a commonly accepted view that "から" should never be used in formal writing? Is this an example of hypercorrection by language mavens?

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For dissertations and such, you pretty much have to use ので instead of から.
I would tend to say it is the same for every written documents, but I am sure there could be a few exceptions.

から Is mostly just for speaking.
ので Is for polite speaking and for writing.

This is only for the meaning of "because" though.
You can still use から for intervals (から~まで) and for any other "time" or "location" related use like 「東京駅から出発する」or「食べてからいく」etc.

  • As an aside, not being used in the concept of time, such as "from" is almost always acceptable. DBからデータを出力して、調査してください。 – The Wandering Coder Feb 28 '17 at 2:17
  • To respond to people commenting about other usages of "から", I wasn't referring to these. Obviously, if you include stuff like "ことから" then essentially 100% of formal writing is going to contain "から", but this is not the "because" sense of the word. However, if I look at actual academic papers on sites like ci.nii.ac.jp, for example, it seems like large numbers will contain examples of から or だから in the sense of "because" even if you exclude things that are arguable special cases like "からといって" and "からである" (obviously if you include these two, then again pretty much 100% use it). – Aomidoro Feb 28 '17 at 2:20
  • @Aomidoro Just some bonus info in case it is needed, I do not know your Japanese level or how well you know/can differentiate all the different usage of から. The main explanation in my answer is all about the "because" version. – stack reader Feb 28 '17 at 2:22
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As counterexamples prove, it's obviously oversimplification to affirm that から is not cut out for formal writings.

For example, if you were to claim that "you don't get it because you want to, but you get desirous of it because you see it" in some article, you would use から and write 人は欲しいから手にするのではない。見るから欲しくなるのだ.

According to this page, you can find it say, at the bottom, 話し言葉。論文には使えない (colloquialism, not applicable to articles), but at the same time, it says, just before that, 「~から」と「~ので」は、多くの場合、置き換えができます。 この比較は、絶対的なものではなく、こういう傾向がある、といった、大きなくくりです。("kara" and "node" are in most cases interchangeable to each other. This comparison is not absolute but a rough grouping that indicates tendency.), which is actually the most important.

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