How to Say Because in Japanese: 5 Major Ways

There are many ways to say “because” in Japanese. One way is 何故なら (nazenara); however, 何故なら may be a bit too formal for everyday conversations. 何故なら (nazenara) is more useful in writing. 

In casual conversation among friends or family, Japanese people use other words like だから (dakara), なので (nanode), or ということで (to iu koto de). Let’s see how to use these words naturally in Japanese.

1. から (Kara) and だから (Dakara)

から (kara) is a conjunctive particle that connects that describes cause and effect. Similar to から (kara), Japanese people often use だから (dakara) for the same purpose. だ (da) is an assertive auxiliary verb that describes a status such as, “This is it.” The feeling of both of these terms is “that’s why.”

から is used after verbs or i-adjectives in their plain form. だから (dakara) is used after nouns, na-adjectives, or the particle ん (n). For example, できないだから…

Examples:  から (Kara)

 1. 意地悪なこと言うからやらなかったよ。
(Ijiwaru na koto iu kara yaranakatta yo.)
I didn’t do it because you said mean things to me.

 2. 試験期間の間ずっと助けてくれたから、無事合格できたよ。
(Shiken kikan no aida zutto tasukete kureta kara, buji gōkaku dekita yo.)
I passed the exam because of all your help throughout the testing period.  

Examples: だから (Dakara)

 1. 今日は祝日だから、誰も電話に出ないよ。
(Kyō wa shukujitsu dakara, dare mo denwa ni denai yo.)
No one will answer the phone because today is a holiday.

 2. 明日は記念日だから、レストランの予約をしたよ。
(Ashita wa kinenbi dakara, resutoran no yoyaku o shita yo.)
I made a reservation at the restaurant because tomorrow is our anniversary.

Note: When people are angry or irritated, だーかーらー (dākārā) is often used at the beginning of the sentence. When a sentence begins with だーかーらー (dākārā) or だから (dakara), it usually means “so” or “that’s why” or can even have a meaning of “like I already told you.” 

Examples: だーかーらー (Dākārā)

 1. だーかーらー、何度言えばわかるのかなあ。
(Dākārā, nando ieba wakaru no ka nā.)
That’s why! How many times do I have to tell you?

 2. だーかーらー最初に言ったじゃない!
(Dākārā saisho ni itta ja nai!)
That’s why I told you at the beginning!

2. ので (Node) and なので (Nanode)

ので (node) and なので (nanode) are conjunctive particles. They are used similarly as から (kara) and だから (dakara). The difference is ので (node) and なので (nanode) sounds softer and more polite than から (kara) and だから (dakara). The feeling here is “since.” 

Similar to から and だから, ので (node) is used after verbs or i-adjectives in their plain form. なので (nanode) is used after nouns or na-adjectives. The biggest difference is that なので cannot be used after the particle ん (n).  

For example, “できないなので…” would not be correct. Only だから could be used after the particle ん (n).

Examples: ので (Node)

 1. とっても暑いので窓を開けてもいいですか?
(Tottemo atsui node mado o akete mo ii desu ka?)
It’s really hot so could I open the window?

 2. 猫が気持ちよさそうに寝ていたので、起こさないよう静かに本を読んでいました。
(Neko ga kimochi yosasō ni neteita node, okosanai yō shizuka ni hon o yonde imashita.)
Because the cat was sleeping comfortably, I read a book quietly so I didn’t wake it up.  

Examples: なので (Nanode)

 1. 今日はもう予約がいっぱいなので、明日またお越しください。
(Kyō wa mō yoyaku ga ippai nanode, ashita mata okoshi kudasai.)
Please come again tomorrow, because we are fully booked today.  

 2. 舞台の衣装なので、本物の宝石じゃなくていいです。
(Butai no ishō nanode, honmono no hōseki ja nakute ii desu.)
There is no need to use real jewelry because it’s a stage costume.

Saying Because in Formal/Business Environments

You will find から (kara), だから (dakara), ので (node) and なので (nanode) being used in formal business environments and in writing as well. However, this is not recommended. 

You should not use these in formal business events or writing because they are not 丁寧語 (teinei go = polite Japanese). Here are two easy ways to convert these terms for more formal writing or business applications.  

  • Instead of から (kara) and だから (dakara), use ですから (desu kara).
  • Instead of ので (node) and なので (nanode), use ですので (desu node).

Recently, many Japanese writers and even newspaper reporters have been using なので (nanode) at the beginning of a sentence in their articles. This way is considered wrong; however, language is always changing. Starting a sentence with なので (nanode) may become a part of standard grammar in the future.

3. ということで (To Iu Koto De)

Another useful way to say “because” in Japanese is ということで (to iu koto de), or という訳で (to iu wake de). Both generally mean the same thing. 

こと (koto) describes a thing, and 訳 (wake) explains a reason. A typical feeling of ということで (to iu koto de) and という訳で (to iu wake de) is “because of that.” 

Compared to other ways of saying “because” in Japanese, ということで (to iu koto de) or という訳で (to iu wake de), are more specific. They describe a specific thing or the cause and effect.

 Examples: ということで (To Iu Koto De)

 1. 全員の意見が出揃いました。ということで本日の会議は終了です。
(Zenin no iken ga desoroimashita. To iu koto de honjitsu no kaigi wa shūryō desu.)
Since everyone gave their opinion, today’s meeting is finished.  

 2. 天気予報によると明日は大雨ということで、遠足は延期になりました。
(Tenki yohō ni yoru to ashita wa ōame to iu koto de, ensoku wa enki ni narimashita.)
Our field trip is postponed because the weather forecast says there will be heavy rain tomorrow.

Examples: という訳で (To Iu Wake De)

 1.  雨続きで洗濯物が乾かない。という訳で今日も昨日と同じシャツを着てるんだ。
(Ame tsuzuki de sentaku mono ga kawaka nai. To iu wake de kyō mo kinō to onaji syatsu o kiterun da.)
My laundry doesn’t dry because it’s been raining for days, so I’m wearing the same shirt from yesterday.

 2. 遺産相続をした上に宝くじにも当たった。という訳で豪邸を買うことができたんだ。
(Isan sōzoku o shita ue ni, takara kuji ni mo atatta. To iu wake de gōtei o kau koto ga dekitan da.)
I could buy a mansion because I not only received an inheritance, but I also won the lottery.

4. 何故なら (Nazenara)

The most common formal way to say “because” is 何故なら (nazenara). It means “because.” There is no problem using 何故なら (nazenara) in general conversation, but 何故なら (nazenara) is better suited for writing. 

Since 何故なら (nazenara) is a conjunction that describes a reason, the basic rule is that a complete sentence must come before 何故なら (nazenara). 何故なら will follow a complete sentence to give a reason why something happened. Let’s check out some examples of this.

Examples: 何故なら (Nazenara)

 1. 残念ながら今年はボーナスが出ません。何故なら会社が倒産寸前だからです。
(Zannen nagara kotoshi wa bōnasu ga demasen. Nazenara kaisha ga tōsan sunzen dakara desu.)
There is no bonus this year. The reason is because our company is on the brink of bankruptcy.  

 2. ドロシーはマンチキンの英雄になりました。何故なら彼女の家が悪い魔女を退治したからです。
(Doroshī wa manchikin no eiyū ni nari mashita. Nazenara kanojo no ie ga warui majo o taiji shita kara desu.)
Dorothy became a hero of the munchkins. That’s because her house destroyed the bad witch.

Note: 何故ならば (nazenaraba) is a more formal version of 何故なら (nazenara), but their meaning is the same.

5. だって (Datte)

In conversation with people you are close to (friends, romantic partner, or family), you can use だって (datte) for “because.” 

Compared to other Japanese terms for “because,” だって (datte) has a stronger feeling to express your opinion. Sometimes だって (datte) is used in a childish way to say the reason. Also, だって (datte) tends to be used when people want to disagree with someone. In this case, だって (datte) is followed by your opinion, reasons, or excuse.

Examples: だって (Datte)

 1. 昨日アイスクリーム30個も買っちゃった。だって半額セールだったのよ。
(Kinō aisu kurīmu sanjukko mo kacchatta. Datte hangaku sēru datta no yo.)
I bought 30 packs of ice cream yesterday because there was a half-off sale.  

 2. もうご飯作らなくていいよ。だって僕のこと嫌いなんでしょ。
(Mō gohan tsukuranakute ii yo. Datte boku no koto kirai nandesho.)
You don’t have to cook anymore. Because I know you hate me.

3. 今日は店を開けるの無理ですよ。だって食材が全部ダメになっちゃったんですもの。
(Kyō wa mise o akeru no muri desu yo. Datte shokuzai ga zenbu dame ni nacchattan desu mono.)
We cannot open the store today because all the food went bad.

Dialogue

お母さん: なんでこんなに帰りが遅くなったの?
娘: だってみんなでしゃべってたら、あっという間に10時になってたんだもん!

Okāsan: (Nande konna ni kaeri ga osoku natta no?)
Musume: (Datte minna de shabettetara, atto iu ma ni jū ji ni nattetan da mon!)

Mother: Why did you come back home so late?
Daughter: Because we were chatting and it was 10 o’clock before I knew it!  

Other Ways to Say Because in Japanese

Synonyms of 何故なら (nazenara):

  • どうしてかと言うと (dōshite ka to iu to): If I say why… 
  • と言うのは / と言うのも (to iu no wa / to iu no mo): I say it because…
  • その理由は (sono riyū wa): The reason is…
  • 何故かと言うと (naze ka to iu to): The reason why is…

Using the words in this article will help you sound more natural when you want to say because in Japanese. Go out and give it a try! Many Japanese people enjoy and appreciate communication with foreigners who try to understand the Japanese language and its culture. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are the best…nazenara they help your Japanese become more natural!

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