て is the most important conjunctive particle in Japanese. Conjunctive particles correspond to words like "and" and "but." As you will see, you cannot use て for the and in "And, I saw him" or "dogs and cats do this," but its use is profoundly important.
A resulting phrase with て is said to be in the て形. This is sadly not the easiest thing in Japanese, and there are many grammatical patterns that utilize it. So, you will continue to learn more about it in future lessons.
て attaches to the れんようけい of verbs and adjectives. The changes with ～た apply. There are no differences.
1. て may be で due to contraction rules for 五段 verbs that end in certain sounds.
|泳ぐ (To swim) → 泳いで||読む (To read) → 読んで|| 叫ぶ (To shout) → 叫んで|
2. The て形 of だ is the contraction of に＋て.
3. くて is not what connects adjectives. Only て is the ending. The く is part of the れんようけい for adjectives.
4. There is a select amount of verbs that て may simply follow the 終止形 such as 負う, 問う, etc. However, this is usually only seen in writing. It is not typically reflected in the speech of Tokyo speakers.
5. The copula is used in its て form to list things with "to be." This applies to 形容動詞 as well. You don't use the particle と for this.
て connects two or more phrases. て can also implicitly indicate reason. However, the action in the latter part(s) can't contain volition. Things that may be seen when indicating a reason include feelings, states, and the past. When using reason to express volition (one's will, a request, etc.), you must use other things such as the particle から.
I was surprised to hear the news.
The Japanese was complicated, so I didn't understand it well.
て can list actions or qualities, and indicate a method for action (like putting sugar in tea and drinking it).
The apple is red and big.
Japanese is easy and awesome.
Mrs. Kawada's house is new and pretty, isn't it?
Tokyo is lively and interesting.
The class had a lot of homework, and the exams were difficult..
He stopped by her house and delivered a letter.
That person is kind and smart.
To stop and look around.
What if you are just repeating the same verb over and over again? You can delete all but the last, and you can even delete the particle that goes with it except in the last clause.
11c. ランスはフランス、 セスは日本、アンドリューは中国へ行きました。
Lance went to France, Seth went to Japan, and Andrew went to China.
There are two possible negative ～て forms: ～ないで and ～なくて. ～ないで comes from ～なくて, and it means "without" as in without doing something. ～ないで may infer that you didn't do something expected of you. If you go to the vet "without your dog", that will be a big waste of time. ～なくて can mean "without" but refers to state--"being without."
I wrote a letter without using a dictionary.
My friend didn't come, and I was upset.
Wait without sleeping.
I came by walking instead of riding the train today.
I ate lunch, watched TV, listened to music, and came home.
I put up my summer clothes and got out my fall clothes.
The cherry blossoms have scattered, and the leaves have appeared.
I worked and got exhausted.
Practice (1): Translate the following.
1. The street is dirty, narrow, and it smells.
2. He is not smart, short, and ugly.
3. She is beautiful, tall, and cute.
4. I went without eating.
As mentioned before, the method of listing adjectives involves ～て, and the means of conjugation are as follows.
|古い (終止形・連体形)||→||古くて||簡単な (連体形)|| →|| 簡単で|
The last adjective will end normally in the 終止形. If the adjectives are of different classes and there are only two adjectives, changing one to the 連体形 (which is in the chart) is not necessary. This is not the case for the predicate condition, and this is only really the case when a 形容詞 precedes a 形容動詞 when modifying a noun. Sometimes, though, you find that for whatever reason, two 形容詞 phrases can modify a noun without either changing. If in doubt, just list adjectives like below.
A cold day where the wind is strong
Ms. Yamada is pretty and nice.
Jessica is a pretty and kind person.
A beautiful, quiet woman
Word Note: Due to political correctness, the more formal term 女性 is now more prevalent. Girl is typically 女の子. Man is 男. Male is 男性. Boy is 男の子. The terms 男の人and 女の人 can also be used as the polite forms of "man" and "woman" respectively.
The world is wonderful and interesting.
I want a light and stylish cell phone.
Word Note: The word スマート is out of fashion at the moment and may never regain its power.
It's become hot, hasn't it?
Practice (2): Translate the following.
1. The dog is cute and big.
2. The girl is short and smart.
3. The bird is small and red.
4. The not smart, ugly bird is annoying.
～て Phrases Deemed as One Word
There are a few instances when ～て phrases result in single vocabulary items. In Ex. 27, treating the verb with ～て separately is not possible. This shows how fused set-phrases work.
To grasp the real sense.
To make one's debut in an election.
To hurry and come back.
Grammar Note: When ～て ends a sentence, it could be like "so..." with something implied after it. Or, it could be the final particle て.
Orthography Note: For verbs like 話す and 光る, using the 連用形 in this way means keeping the おくりがな. However, when the 連用形 results in a noun, you don't use the おくりがな. Thus, you get 話 (talk; conversation) and 光 (light).
Like previous lessons, you should try to use 漢字 that you've learned up to this point. You may choose whichever speech style you would like if it is not specified. If a dictionary is allowed, the answers will be written normally even if the 漢字 haven't been covered yet.
4. 食べないでいた; 食べないで行った。
Note: The translation was left to interpretation as in to what it meant. So, the two answers do not mean the same thing.
Note: #4 is the most difficult problem in this lesson. The particle の is actually used a lot in attribute verbal/adjectival phrases instead of が, but because of this, using the particle て would be wrong.