Wild Nihongo!
で Particle (Cause)

で Particle (Cause)

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. 台風たいふう [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. 大雨おおあめではしがこわれた。[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. ちち交通事故こうつうじこ入院にゅういんしました。[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. 昨日きのうよる仕事しごとでとてもつかれた。[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. たまご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. たまごでオムレツをつくる。[I make the omelette with eggs.] This is interpreted as で (Means / Instrument) because both the noun and the predicate are controllable.

Example Sentences:

山本やまもとさんが病気びょうき学校がっこうやすんだ。[Mr. Yamamoto is sick and he took today off.]

明日あした期末試験きまつしけんでたいへんです。[Tomorrow is the final exam, so the situation is very stressful.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 2:32: かんがえすぎ言葉ことばまる、自分じぶん不器用ぶきようさがきら [I overthink and trip over my words, I hate my awkwardness] In this example, overthinking is the cause of the singer tripping over his words.

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