As discussed in this post.




Besides the relative context dependency of the first sentence, is there a difference in meaning? Is there a reason to use one over the other?

  • Just a note that だ after an い adjective is ungrammatical, so it should be 安いから. – Leebo Jun 28 at 14:20
  • @Leebo Fixed, thanks. – charlemagne Jun 28 at 14:41
  • 2
    Do you feel there's a difference between "I like this cafe because it's cheap" and "This cafe is cheap and I like it"? It's the same in Japanese. The causal connection is weaker with the て-form than it is with から. I feel sure I've seen an answer to this before on this site but I'm struggling to find anything. – user3856370 Jun 28 at 15:22
  • Great answers, thanks everyone. – charlemagne Jun 29 at 11:31

Beware that this is a partial answer, and there are probably other differences to take into account too.

One key difference is that 〜て to express causality has a constraint: you can only use it if the second clause (after the て, 好きだ in your examples) is non-volitional, i.e. it does not include the intention or the will of the speaker, but it rather expresses a state, a feeling or it is in a potential form.

For example:

○このカフェは安くて、100円だけでもコーヒーが飲める。This cafe is cheap so you can drink coffee for only 100 yen.

○このカフェは安くて、いつも混んでいる。This cafe is cheap so it's always crowded

✕このカフェは安くて、行きたい。This cafe is cheap so I want to go (incorrect).

✕このカフェは安くて、一緒に行きませんか。This cafe is cheap so let's go together? (incorrect).

The first and the second examples are ok because the second clause does not contain volition or intention. The first expresses a potential (買える) and the second expresses a state (混んでいる). However, the third and the fourth sentences are not correct because they contain the speaker's volition or intention. The third expresses a will (行きたい) and the fourth is an invitation (行きませんか). Both sentences would work with から, though:

○このカフェは安いから、行きたい。This cafe is cheap so I want to go.

○このカフェは安いから、一緒に行きませんか。This cafe is cheap so let's go together?

This constraint in the usage of causal て means that て and から are not interchangeable in the 100% of situations. Please check out this excellent article (in particular the section "Constraints of using te-form for Cause or Reason") to deepen your understanding and find out more examples and cases regarding this 〜て. I think that から is more straightforward and it's usually taught very soon, so you'll probably figure out the differences between both by studying more on the usage of 〜て.

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The short answer is that in the specific case of your sentences, the meaning is basically the same ('I like this cafe because it's cheap').

In the sentences, both から and て function to express a causal relationship between the predicates. However, this is not always the function of て when linking two predicates. It can also be used to express 'and', such as in sentences like このステーキは安くておいしいです (This steak is cheap and delicious'). Here, the use of て describes a state rather than a reason. There are other uses too. So it really does depend on the context.

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