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I just read this question but was confused by a different aspect of the example sentence:

牛乳を飲み終わった人から、紙パックを自分の番号のケースに戻して席に着くように。

The question's answer is perfectly clear about the meaning, but I don't understand how the grammar of the part in bold works. When I see から I think of either 'from', 'because' or (if it's て-form) 'after'. None of these seem to work.

On it's own, the first clause (to me) reads

from the person who has finished drinking milk

but such a translation clearly doesn't fit with the rest of the sentence.

Is it a geneal rule that

verb-past + noun + から = as noun does verb

What about the tense/aspect of the verb? Some more examples would also be appreciated.

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  • This is a good question, answered well by Shoko, but the title does not really fit. You are asking about this particular meaning of から after a noun phrase. The "verb" is only part of the qualifying verbal phrase 牛乳を飲み終わった, which has nothing specific to do with the question. Perhaps a better title would be "Meaning of から after a noun phrase", or something similar, though it's hard not to end up writing the answer in the question: "Sequential meaning of から". Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 8:23
  • @BrianChandler You make a good point. I'm never sure whether ex post facto title changes are a good idea though. The current title relects the problem I thought I had, and therefore the problem other people might think they have. If you feel differently I have no problem with you editing the title. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 9:08

1 Answer 1

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According to 明鏡国語辞典:

から
🈩〘格助詞〙
❼ 順序を表す。「好きなものから食べる」「子供から診察する」

And デジタル大辞泉:

1⃣[格助]
5 動作・作用の開始順序や発端を示す。「先着の人から入場してください」

I think the から indicates the starting point of order, meaning 「~~から順番に」「~~から順に」, "starting from~~, in order from~~".

「牛乳を飲み終わった人から」≂「牛乳を飲み終わった人から順に
"Starting from the person who has finished drinking milk, do ~~ in turn", hence the translation "As you finish drinking the milk, take turns in..."

I hope this makes sense.

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