There are a few expressions in Japanese where particle で is used but I don't really know which で that one is. それで (translated as and then; after that; due to that) is one of those cases. I basically understand there are two particle で; one used to indicate means of doing something, the use of a tool, and the other で used to indicate a state, condition or form as in である. Probably, most other uses stem from these two categories, so which of these two で is the one used in それで?


それで would be like saying "being that (the reason)"....? If so, in my mind this で is the one used in である.


The で in それで is a marker for reason or cause.

There is another usage of 「で」in addition to the usages you stated in your question. This is 「で」as a marker for reason or cause.


Due to A, B.

When using で as a marker for reason or cause, there is a constraint: the result clause cannot be volitional, i.e. it has to be an action or event the speaker does not have control over, or he/she is somehow required to do regardless of his/her will. For this reason, this pattern is common when explaining the results of an accident, a natural disaster or an illness.


So, the それ is a pronoun that refers to the cause or reason and the で indicates that what comes after is the result of それ. You may think of it like this:


「朝寝坊した」→ それ → それ仕事に遅れたんだ。

IMHO, the で in それで is neither of the usages you proposed in your question but a third, different one.

I do not know about the way the different usages of で came about. I just would learn them as different usages anyway. Can you elaborate more on this or provide a source?

Probably, most other uses stem from these two categories

Thank you!

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.