I saw a sentence that got me thinking―what if I used きり here instead?

(*て form required)

Then, I replaced から with きり, and asked on HiNative.


I was told this sentence was wrong. However, I thought this was probably correct before posting it, because I had found this sentence on Japanesetest4you beforehand:


Here, きり follows the past tense of the verb 出かける, and is then followed by a clause which explains what has taken place since the event in the previous one. If this sentence is correct, I do not see why the one I made using きり in place of から isn't.


1 Answer 1


「きり」 and 「から」 are very different in meaning/usage and the way they are grammatically attached to verbs.


「から」 is the plain and neutral "since". An event occurred sometime in the past and since then, something may or may not have changed. Another event may or may not have taken place since then.

「きり」 is highly negative (and often emphatic and even emotional) in nature. An event occurred in the past and since then, the things one would have expected to occur have not occurred as of the present moment. The speaker is often expressing regrets about things not having turned out the way s/he had hoped for.


「から」 attaches to the te-form of a verb.

「きり」 attaches to the past tense form of a verb.

Now, let us study your example sentences.

「彼女{かのじょ}はこの前会{まえあ}ってからずいぶん変{か}わった。」 ("She has changed so much since we met the last time.")

It is a perfectly-formed sentence. 「から」 is being used correctly both grammatically and meaning-wise.

Moving onto the next sentence:


This sentence makes practically no sense in my Japanese brains, which is why I am being unable to provide a translation. People can change either faster or more slowly than others might expect. Thus, 「から」 needs to be used instead here.

Only when talking about "no action or change for too long", 「きり」 can be used properly.

A correct and natural-sounding sentence using 「きり」 would be something like:


"Ever since Midori went to Africa 8 years ago, she has never returned to Japan."

This sentence is valid because it talks about the situation that the speaker could not have anticipated 8 years ago. This is the type of feeling/emotion/regret, etc. that 「きり」 can express almost single-handedly. Plain and neutral words like 「から」 would not have that kind of "power".

If you replaced the 「行ったきり」 by 「行ってから」, you would still have a "grammatically correct sentence", but the new sentence using 「から」 would lack the intended nuance of regret/surprise, etc. The new sentence would sound as if the speaker had actually expected that Midori would never return home.

Finally, the sentence:


"Ever since she walked out of the hotel the following morning, she has not shown up."

sounds good and natural because it looks as though this woman had mysteriously "disappeared". That is news enough to talk about using a 「きり」.

  • Would you say that a negative form must follow きり?
    – Sweeper
    Jun 3, 2018 at 19:50
  • 3
    ^ 「~たきりそのまま忘れてしまった」「~たきり、そのままほったらかし」「~たきり行方不明になっていた」とかも言いますね・・
    – chocolate
    Jun 3, 2018 at 23:20

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