第34課: The Final Particle て

Particle classification is very important to keep in mind as you learn more about particles. The particle て discussed in this lesson is a final particle and mustn't be confused with the conjunctive one. Although the conjunctive て may be at the end of a sentence in the instance that the remaining part of a sentence is not said, overall context should always help you differentiate between the two. 

The Final Particle て

The main purpose of the final particle て is to make a light command. This is the contraction of ~てください, the polite command. Likewise, the negative of this is ~ないで(ください), making the absence of ください a contracted form of the pattern. Thus, its absence for both the affirmative and negative makes it go from polite to plain speech. A more polite form of both can be made by changing ください to くださいませんか.

1. ちょっとって。(Casual)
      Hold on.

2. はらもどししてください。
      Please refund this.

3. たすけて!
      Help!

4.   教科書を{閉じて・しまって}テストを受けてください。
      Please do your test by closing your textbooks.

5. やめて!
      Quit it!

6. これをて。
      Look at this.

7. タクシーをんでください。
      Please call a taxi (for me).

8. はやくいそいで!
      Hurry quickly!

9. もっとゆっくりとしてください。
    Please speak more slowly. 

10. はやくしてよ!
      (Do it) faster! 

11. まっすぐってください。
       Please go straight.

12. 座布団ざぶとんいてください。
      Please sit on a cushion.

Culture Note: 座布団 are floor cushions used instead of chairs in traditional Japanese rooms.

Contraction Note: ~てて is the contraction of ~ていて. ~ている means "-ing". ~ていて creates a command similar to "be...-ing!".


In women's speech, ~(っ)てよ asserts opinion. However, this phrase has essentially disappeared in the younger generations and is most likely to be used by older women or seen in literature dating back a few decades ago. It is replaced by things such as ~てるよ.

13. あたくし、ちっともってなんかいなくてよ。
     I'm not even the least bit drunk. 
From 永すぎた春 by 三島由紀夫.

Particle Note: なんか is essentially a filler word here.  

14. かまわなくってよ。
      I don't care.

~て, with a high intonation, can make a question. These two usages, though, are hackneyed yet refined. This, too, would be replaced with something like ~てる?.

15. あなた、のいうことがかって?
      Do you understand what I'm saying?

It is to note that ~てよ is used by everyone to make a command. The sound of your voice is what matters.


~て may also follow things like だ・じゃ to tell someone to do something or give some sort of instruction/warning. This, though, is uncommon. 

16. 大変たいへんなことじゃて。(Old person; dialectical)
      That's a horrible thing!