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The Versatile Japanese Te Form

Updated: Feb 6, 2019

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こんにちは, Japanese learners! Welcome back to Teach Me Japanese. In this post, we are going to learn about the versatile Japanese Te form.

Let's get started! ^ↀᴥↀ^

Te form is one of the most versatile in forms in Japanese and can be used to expand your Japanese ability and will enable you to express yourself in new and interesting ways. Te form can be used with nouns, adjectives, and verbs! Conjugation depends on type:

Nouns conjugate simply by adding で, the dakuten version of て

い adjectives conjugate by replacing い with くて.

Just like nouns, な adjectives conjugate into te-form simply by adding で

Auxiliary adjective ない conjugates just like an い adjective

る verbs are the simplest of the verbs to conjugate, simply replace る with て

The conjugation of う verbs for te form depends on the ending syllable

Irregular verbs are, well, irregular, and thus each conjugate differently

Now that we know how to conjugate te form, let's take a look at all of the uses.

You can use te form for a variety of things from connecting sentences to making requests,

and much more.

If you wish to demand that someone do something, all you need to do is use a verb in

it's te form.

However, this is very casual Japanese. If you would like to make a polite request,

you should add ください.

If you would like to list actions, you may use te form to do so.

If you would like to list actions in a specific order, you should use から after て.

You can connect independent clauses with nouns/adjectives using te form.

When listing adjectives, you cannot use te form to list conflicting

(positive and negative) adjectives.

Here is an example of connecting two Independent clauses with nouns.

You can express the present using the te form of a verb + いる(いる conjugates like

a る verb)

ている can also express a current state of being.

This is a bit advanced, but you can use ている in the past form to describe an event

that took place in the past, particularly if another event coincides with it.

When you want to say that you will try something in Japanese, you use a verb in te

form + みる. みる conjugates the same as verb 見る, but in this case you don't write

the kanji.

Another way of using te form is to apologize for something that you have done. You accomplish this by adding すみません/ごめんなさい/etc.

Another extremely useful usage of te form is when asking for permission to do

something. You ask for permission by adding もいい(ですか) to the te form

conjugated verb. The も is often dropped in casual conversation, as seen in the

second example.

If you add just も following te form, you can create an "even if..." clause. "Even if..." clauses can use nouns, adjectives, or verbs in the te form. We'll give an example of


In Japanese, when someone does something for us, we receive that action. This

is expressed by te form + もらう

You can also make a request by combining もらう and もいい using te form, as

もらう is an う verb. So in this case you use te form twice in a row.

If you change もらう to あげる you can express the action of doing something

for someone.

If someone is giving something to you, or someone who is close to you, you use

くれる. あげる is for outward actions only.

You can also use te form plus くれる/くれない in casual conversation to ask a

favor of someone.

  And of course the infamous masculine ~てくれ. Instead of asking someone

to do something, using くれ means you are telling them.

Using te form + しまう expresses regret for something that you have done.

It can also mean that you did something "accidentally".

In casual conversation, てしまう becomes ちゃう.

Te form + おくexpresses the action of doing something in preparation.

If you want to make it clear that you are referencing the impending rainstorm, you

can always say

In casual speech, often times the て and お sounds come together and people say

とく instead.

Te aru can be kind of similar to te oku or te iru, but te aru simply means that

something has been done intentionally, whether there is any reason behind the

action or not. te + ある requires the use of transitive verbs only. Sentences using

てある emphasize the resultant state.

When we want to express that something is "forbidden" we simply attach

はいけません to the te form of a verb. It is important to note here that the

は is pronounced as "wa" and not the usual "ha".


That sums up today's lesson! We tried to fit in as many uses of te form as possible.

There are a few more, but they require a more in-depth discussion and will be tackled

in future lessons. Feel free to bookmark this page so you can look back to it for reference

when using te form!

Please leave any questions, comments, or suggestions in the comments and we will

get back to you. Also don't forget to check out our resources tab for even more fun ways to learn Japanese!

As always, がんばってね!

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