で Particle (Cause) Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Particle
Essential Meaning: Because of / Due to / And (indicates a weak causal relationship)
- Noun (Cause) + で
- E.g. 台風で [Due to the typhoon]
- で (Cause) means “Due to X” or “Because of X” and indicates a relatively weak causal relationship (から and ので are used to indicate strong causal relationships).
- で (Cause) is an offshoot of the て-Form of the copula だ. で (Cause) simply connects a Noun + copula clause to a main clause and this adjacency implies causality. For example, in the sentence “Mary got sick and she went to the hospital.”, it is clear that Mary went to the hospital BECAUSE she got sick even though this isn’t explicitly stated. で (Cause) implies causality in the same manner.
- E.g. 大雨ではしが壊れた。[Due to heavy rain, the bridge broke down.] Literally speaking, the sentence says “There was heavy rain, and the bridge broke down.” However the で (Cause) particle implies a causal relationship between the rain and the breakdown.
- で (Cause) is typically used with nouns that express something beyond human control (e.g. rain, earthquake, illness). However, it can also be used with controllable nouns as long as the predicate expresses something non-controllable. To put it another way, either the cause is controllable or the predicate is controllable, but not both.
- E.g. 父は交通事故で入院しました。[My father was hospitalized because of a traffic accident.] In this case, the noun (i.e. traffic accident) is uncontrollable, but the predicate (i.e. hospitalization) is controllable.
- E.g. 昨日は夜仕事でとても疲れた。[Yesterday, I became exhausted due to work in the evening.] In this case, the noun (i.e. working) is controllable but the predicate (i.e. becoming exhausted) is non-controllable.
- If the で particle is used with a controllable noun AND a controllable predicate, it becomes で (Means / Instrument) rather than で (Cause).
- E.g. 卵でアレルギーになる。[Due to eggs, I become allergic.] This is interpreted as で (Cause) because the predicate is non-controllable.
- E.g. 卵でオムレツを作る。[I make the omelette with eggs.] This is interpreted as で (Means / Instrument) because both the noun and the predicate are controllable.
山本さんが病気で学校を休んだ。[Mr. Yamamoto is sick and he took today off.]
明日は期末試験でたいへんです。[Tomorrow is the final exam, so the situation is very stressful.]
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