I just encountered the following sentence:

A) 祖父は生まれてから死ぬまで、この町に住んでいました。

B) お金を入れてから、このボタンを押してください。

Sentence B says "After you have inserted money, push this button please."
Sentence A says "From when my grandfather was born till he died, he lived in this city."

What bothers me is that the two sentences are slightly different from a conceptual perspective, yet the same grammar seems to be used on them (at least I haven't learned about any other meaning of てから than in sentence B). In sentence A, てから marks the beginning of a timespan. This is still just a point in time, like in sentence B, but since it requires a slightly different translation, I wondered if the construction in sentence A can still be regarded the same as in sentence B.

By rearranging the whole sentence, sentence A can be made much more similar to sentence B: "Concerning my grandfather, after he was born he lived in this city till he died." So, I might be a bit meticulous on this, but I just wanted to be sure I'm not overlooking something.

2 Answers 2


Perhaps it would help if sentence A were translated a bit differently:

A) 祖父は生まれてから死ぬまで、この町に住んでいました。
My grandfather lived in this town from birth until death.

Personally, I think this is the most idiomatic rendering in English. Though some may not like that I rendered what was a verb in Japanese as a noun in English, I think it can be helpful at some point to recognize that English likes using nouns where Japanese likes to use verbs. That isn't to say it can't be said the other way around in either language; often it can.

You could also translate it using the "after"

After he was born up until he died, my grandfather lived in this town.

It perhaps helps to think of verbてから as the starting point after which something else happens: in that sense, either "after" or "from" can be a good translation.

The constructions in both sentences A and B are the same regarding verbてから.


Verbてから literally means: "after Verb is completed/finished, then..."

So every time you want to say that something happened after another verb, you have to use this format.

You may be confused since there is also から・まで (from-to) but that requires a noun before から.

I think it would be possible to rephrase sentence A like this:


  • 3
    生まれたのときから Are you sure that's what you meant to type?
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 14:00
  • 2
    マジですか・・ タイポかと思ったんですけど違ったんですか。。 「生まれたときから」is grammatically incorrect. It should be 「生まれたときから」. 「の」は要りません
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 4:18
  • 2
    I downvoted because I think "after Verb is completed" is a bad literal translation. てから is literaly "from the point in time when you achieved the action of ~て.....". From there, we can divide it into two good translations which are "after doing..." and "from when I did...". Plus の時 after a verb has never been correct, the role of the 連体形 (of the 助動詞 た here) is to do so we can directly put a noun after it, so no need to nominalize it with a の. So it has never been, and it will never be considered as correct
    – Gunjo
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 19:44
  • 2
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 15:16
  • 2
    Translation: 生まれたのとき is wrong. When using verbs, use "attributive form+とき", as in 生まれる+とき、生まれた+とき、食べる+とき、食べた+とき, NOT "verb(attributive form)+の+とき". With i-adjectives, also use "attributive form+とき", eg 寒い+とき, 寒かった+とき. (The た is an auxiliary.) With na-adjectives, also use "attributive form+とき", eg 暇な+とき, 静かな+とき. You need の when using nouns: "noun+の+とき", eg 子供のとき, 食事のとき, 地震のとき.
    – chocolate
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 15:43

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