The curriculum lineup has been updated!

第108課: ニ格 VS カラ格

The title of this lesson essentially means に VS から. 格 in this sense refers to grammatical case. Case marking is a feature of certain particles that allows a Japanese sentence to state the role of individual phrases (arguments) are in relation to the rest of the phrases in the sentence. Most particles have more than one usage because there are a lot of potential relationships words can have. Consequently, that means different particles may overlap each other.

This is the problem with に and から. It is not a matter of whether they are interchangeable or not for there instances in which they are. Rather, the question is what decides when you can interchange one for the other and whether that will have any difference on meaning. In this lesson, you will learn the answers to these two problems. 

に VS から

There are three kinds of expressions in which we find に and から interchangeable. So far, you have seen all three and the issue of differentiating between them has been avoided in lieu of this lesson.

1. ~てもらう
2. Passive phrases
3. 借りる, もらう, 教える, 聞く, etc. 

 Differentiating between に and から can be done several ways, but it's best to assume keeping all factors in mind is the best way to not mess them up.

Starting Point

The first method to use is judge whether the agent is the same thing as the starting point of a transfer of some kind. For physical borrowing or exchange of something via favor, that makes sense, but what counts as a starting point and what counts as a transfer would have to be defined. 

1. 友里はセス{に・から}英語を教えてもらった。
    Yuri had Seth teach her English. 

2. 智哉がセス{に・から}科学の教科書を借りた。
    Tomoya borrowed a/the science textbook from Seth.

In these sentences, we can see how the agent of the actual action is the same as the starting point of a transfer. In Ex. 1, the person giving knowledge of English is Seth, and the receiver is Yuri. In Example 2, Seth is the one actually giving the book and Tomoya is the end point of the physical transfer. How, though, would we explain starting points of a physical or mental transfer assuming this is the correct way to describe it?

3. 百華は上司から褒められたよ。
   Momoka was praised by her boss. 

 Only に

Let's assume, then, that the actual motivation for when you can use both has to deal with the kind of recipient. The agent would still be the person doing the action and then we would have direct and indirect recipients possible. We see that if there is only an indirect recipient in the sentence, から cannot be used. 

4. 秀晃は光太郎{に 〇・から X}パーティーに来てもらった。
   Hidemitsu had Kotaro come to the party. 

5. 有紀子は時計屋{に 〇・から X}時計を直してもらった。
   Yukiko had a watch fixed by a watch shop.  

Furthermore, if there is only a direct recipient, に can only be used if that recipient has a change in its condition. The recipient in this case also happens to be the subject. 

6. 私はきのう、医者{に 〇・から X}診てもらった。
   I had the doctor see me yesterday. 

7. 私は去年、愛犬{に 〇・から X}死なれました。
   Literally: I was died on by my beloved dog last year.

When Interchangeable

 When the subject is receiving a direct affect from an agent but no condition change occurs, both particles may be used. 

8. 私は親切な人{に・から}席を譲ってもらいました。 
   I got a nice person to lend me his/her seat/I had a seat given to me from a nice person. 

9. 喜久子は潤子{に・から}お金を出してもらった。
  Kikuko had Junko give her money/Kikuko had money given to her by Junko. 

So long as the direct recipient doesn't undergo a state change, there could be an indirect recipient in the sentence. Another dynamic that makes から more likely is if the agent and the direct recipient are both marked by に, then から would appear more frequently to prevent the doubling of the same particle. This does not mean not doing so is grammatically incorrect. 

10. 藤川さんは担任教師{に・から}息子を叱ってもらった。
   Fujikawa had his son scolded by the homeroom teacher.

11. 悠子は級友{から・に}代表に選ばれました。
   Yuuko was elected as representative by her classmates. 

12. リーさんは友達{に・から}笑われた。
   Lee-san was laughed at by his friend(s).

13. 謙太は俊太朗{から・に}小田原先生にそのメッセージを伝えてもらった。
   Kenta had the message sent to Odawara-Sensei by Shuntaro.

Only から? 

   Of course, if there are situations when you can only use に, there must also be situations when you can only use から. An agent will always be able to be represented by に. We have seen already that the use of から is quite smaller than に. If the thing it attaches to is not a direct represented with an unaltered state, you can't use it. When we look at Ex. 14, it may be tempted to view it like the other sentences so far, but what から attaches to is not even an agent at all. So, it is not even in the scope of this discussion.

14. セスは図書館から本を借りてもらった。
    Seth had a book be borrowed for him from the library.  

The only known giving-receiving verb pair that does not take に is 預かる・預ける. In this case, you must use から. However, this appears to be the only case in which から must be used.

15. 有希から荷物を預かった。
    My luggage was entrusted with Yuki.

If we look at the meaning of this verb pair more closely, we see that the action is only a one-way deal. In other words, when you are entrusted with something, you don't have any way of definitively making that be the case (for the sake of the use of these words). In a few of the sentences earlier, we saw how this sort of nuance splitting could be done with に vs. から (though for many utterances no difference is typically felt when interchangeable).

Putting Verb and Particle Meaning Together

Nevertheless, it is certain that から is the only particle that can imply receiving something or an action without personal want. With this in mind, the meanings of these verbs involving giving and receiving combined with what you know about these particles now determine which one you use.  

16. 誰から聞いたの?
      Who did you hear that from?

17. 誰に聞いたの?
      Who did you ask? 

18. 智哉はセス{に 〇・ から X}古典の辞書を貸した。
   Tomoya lent Seth a classics' dictionary.

19. 花束が先生に贈られました。
   A bouquet was presented to the teacher. 

20. 先生からプレゼントを贈っていただきました。 
   I received a present from the teacher. 

21. そのメダルは藤原から杉村に贈られました。
    The medal was presented to Sugimura by Fujiwara. 

22. セスは智哉{に 〇・から X}古典の辞書を借りた。
    Seth borrowed a classics' dictionary from Tomoya. 

Particle Note: For physical borrowing, we don't see much nuance splitting at all, and it is not possible to say that speaker want is not present in borrowing when you use から. So the pairing of it and 借りる essentially overrides から’s possible role of inferring non-volitional receiving. It is important to note, over all, though, that when both particles are possible, に is typically the most common.  


I'm Moving!

I will moving the think tank, which is myself, to a new location this weekend and will be low on funds for a while. New lessons are still being made, but any donations at this time would greatly be appreciated.
Aside from the Donation tab, there are also two GoFundMe campaigns to help out.