Japanese Grammar

Particles から and まで

Particles から and まで

Last time, you learned what function the particle で has and how to use them. The better you understand Japanese particles, the variety in your expressions can increase. Here, you will learn the particles から and まで.

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Explanation for How the Particles から and まで Work

Since まで is often used together with から, you will come to understand the usage by learning the particle から. Let’s go over them one by one.

Four Functions of the Particle から

Starting Point: から and Ending Point: まで

[わたしは / が] いえから えきまで あるく / あるきます
[Topic / Subject] Starting Point Ending Point Verb
[I will] walk from my house to the station.

The first function is that から expresses starting points and まで expresses ending points. This usage is applicable not only for locations, but also time, and order as well. Here are more examples.

あさからよるまではたらく / はたらきます)。
[I will] work from morning to night.
あさからよるまでる / ます)。
[I will] sleep from 5:00am to 9:00pm.
1番いちばんから3番さんばんまでうたう / うたいます)。
[I will] sing from the first verse to the third verse.

The particles から and まで don’t always have to be used together.

いまからきる / きます)。
[I will] get up now.
The school is far from my house.
ひるまでる / ます)。
[I will] sleep until daytime.
えきまではしる / はしります)。
[I will] run up to the station.
Advanced Topic: から (Starting Point) VS. を (Location to Leave)
とうきょう から 出発しゅっぱつ(する / します)。
[I will] depart from Tokyo.
ごと から (やめる / やめます)。
[I will] quit my job.
けむりまど から (る / ます)。
Smoke will go out from the window.

When you express actual places to leave, you can use either the particle を or から (Ex 1). However, you cannot use から when you express organizations to leave (Ex. 2) and you cannot use を when subjects are inanimate (Ex. 3).

Advanced Topic: まで (Ending Point) VS. に or へ (Destination)
えき まで く。

When you use motion verbs like “行く: to go,” “来る: to come,” and “着く: to arrive,” you can use any of に, へ, and まで. Please keep in mind that and imply that places you mention are the final destination while まで implies part of the destination. Therefore, with the example above, if you meet up with someone at the station, に and で are more suitable. If you take a train and go to somewhere else, まで is more suitable.

なんきょく まで く。
[I will] go to the South Pole.

With this example, the South Pole can hardly be part of the destination, so に and へ are more suitable.

えき まで はしる。

One important usage here is that when you use action verbs like “歩く: to walk,” “走る: to run,” and “泳ぐ: to swim,” you have to use まで.


[わたしは / が] かあさんから はなし く / きます
[Topic / Subject] Source Direct Object Verb
[I will] hear the story from my mother.

The second function is to express sources. In this context, から is interchangeable with the particle に. Regarding the sentence order, から can be placed anywhere before the verb. Here are more examples.

先生せんせい から ほんを(もらう / もらいます)。
[I will] receive a book from my teacher.
かね友達ともだち から (りる / ります)。
[I will] borrow money from my friend.

Raw Material

[わたしは / が] こめから さけ つくる / つくります
[Topic / Subject] Raw Material Direct Object Verb
[I will] make alcohol from rice.

The third function is to express raw materials. You may wonder what the difference is between using the particle で (materials) and から. Just like the difference between “A is made of B” and “A is made from B,” から is more suitable when you cannot visually judge what materials are used to make products.

ブドウからワインを(つくる / つくります)。
[I will] make wine from grapes.
牛乳ぎゅうにゅうからバターを(つくる / つくります)。
[I will] make butter from milk.

State Before Change

信号しんごう あかから あお わる / わります
Subject State Before Change Target Verb
The traffic lights will change from red to blue.
*In Japan, the colors of traffic lights are blue, yellow and red.

The fourth function is to express states before changes. Targets of changes are expressed by the particle に.

学生がくせいから先生せんせいに(なる / なります)。
[I will] become a teacher from a student.
せつはるからなつに(わる / わります)。
The season will change from spring to summer.


  1. The particle から can express:
    • Starting Point (while まで can express Ending Point)
    • Source
    • Raw Material
    • State Before Change

The functions are similar to the word “from” in English. However, they are of course not the same. Please learn Japanese grammar as it is. For the sake of simplicity, we have given examples where the number of subjects or objects is kept to one. What if there are more than one? We will learn parallel markers next.

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