6

Compare the following two sentences, "ため" is used to express 原因 in both sentences:

寒さのために死んだ。

日本は島国のため、陸上には国境がない。

I wonder if I can choose to add the particle "に" as I want,

but one of my Japanese friend told me

寒さのため死んだ。(✕)

日本は島国のために、陸上には国境がない。(✕)

don't sound natural.

Does anyone know the rule when we should add "に" or not?

8

"に" is used to emphasise the reasons in these sentences. All expressions you've picked up are linguistically right, but the problem they two sound unnatural is here and it depends on what the speaker really want to tell us. http://blog.livedoor.jp/s_izuha/archives/2427356.html

寒さのために死んだ。

日本は島国のために、陸上には国境がない。

It makes us focus on the reasons.

寒さのため死んだ。

日本は島国のため、陸上には国境がない。

It makes us focus on the facts.

Instance translation:

寒さのために死んだ。 → It is because it was too cold, the person died.

寒さのため死んだ。 → The person did die because it was too cold.

And I also feel not only "日本は島国のために" but "日本は島国のため" to be odd. "寒さ" is a outside cause and the noun could be the reason, but "島国" is not the cause. No island can erase Japanese border on land. Of course, "being island" is the cause. I mean "日本は島国のため" is not enough and, strictly, it should be "日本は島国であるため." Both of "日本は島国のために" and "日本は島国のため" aren't precisely right, althogh we Japanese often use it.

The reason why your friend said it sounded wrong is the emphasis effect of "に".

日本は島国のために、陸上には国境がない。

As I said, "に" in this sentence emphasises the reason. To be precise, I meant it was the reason which was a noun. So this "に" emphasises only "島国" even though the actual reason is not "island" but "being island." I think it makes itself a little odd.

  • Your explanation about 島国である is excellent. And, blog.livedoor.jp/s_izuha/archives/2427356.html you showed tells us good explanation for OP's question. – mackygoo Jan 26 '18 at 10:35
  • 1
    I did not know you can use ため when it kills someone. I thought you have to say せい... – user5083 Jan 31 '18 at 4:26
  • @Worthy7 This is the news of a Japanese musician's death. oricon.co.jp/news/2090450 – Geika Kiyomizudera Jan 31 '18 at 9:25
  • @Worthy7 ため is a neutral word, unlike せい or おかげ。I think ため is also more formal than せい。 – weirdalsuperfan Nov 6 '18 at 5:05
10

寒さのために死んだ。

The のために means "due to~" "all because of~" "only/primarily for the reason of~".
~ために has a nuance of "the result was caused only/primarily for this reason", and its main clause, or apodosis, (「死んだ」 here) should usually be an unfavorable/unwelcomed result.
The sentence can be rephrased as: 寒さのせいで死んだ。
「~のせいで~」「~のために~」 could have a blaming or regretting tone.
(I think 「寒さのため死んだ。」 is also acceptable.)

Whereas...

日本は島国のため、陸上には国境がない。

The ため means "because~" "~so" or "therefore".
日本は島国のため、陸上には国境がない wound sound a little unnatural because 陸上に国境がない is not really an unfavorable result.
It can be rephrased as: 日本は島国なので/だから、~~。
When using 「~のため、~」「~なので・だから、~」, the connection of the "reason/cause" and the "result" tends to sound weaker than 「~のために」「~のせいで」.


Similar examples...

  • 「道が狭いために、車が入れない。」(≂道が狭いせいで~) (Example taken from 明鏡国語辞典)
    My car can't go through due to the fact that the street is narrow. -- the unfavorable result is caused all because / only for the reason that the street is narrow.
    (I think 「道が狭いため、車が入れない」 is also acceptable.)
  • 「道が狭いため / [狭路]{きょうろ}のため、[迂回]{うかい}してください。」(≂道が狭いので~ / 狭路なので~)
    The street is narrow, so please take a detour.
    (×「道が狭いため /狭路のため、迂回してください。」 doesn't sound right.)

Also compare:

  • 「無理をしたため病気になった」 I got sick all because I pushed myself too much.
  • 「美しさのため人から妬まれる」 Others are jealous of me only for/all because of my beauty.
    and...
  • 「家が手狭なため、改築する」 Our house is small, so we'll rebuilt it.
    (Examples taken from 明鏡国語辞典)
1

The existing answers here focus on native speakers' understanding of emphasis, which are very useful.

I'd also like to propose a grammatical explanation for the use of に in ために. From page 450 of A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar,

The ni of tame ni can be dropped, if a phrase intervenes between the main verb and tame ni.

For example,

日本人は会社のためによく働きます。(に is required, the verb is right after ために)

雪のため(に)学校が休みになった。(に is optional, 学校 is between ために and the verb)

There may indeed be a difference in nuance when the に is optional. Also, Geika's answer states that 寒さのため死んだ is a valid sentence, which apparently is grammatically incorrect, but may be a colloquial wording.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.