Verb[て] - Grammar Discussion

I know I’m commenting two years later, but

I agree!

It’d be very helpful to be able to review each of these separately.

Purely imo, but the て-form is just really one of those things you need to brute force memorize because you will see it SO much. Having 13 individual points would probably just end up clogging the review after you become a master of the conjugation! I remember at first it was really difficult but I did the following and after about and hour or two I never forgot it since.

KANJI-Link: Learn Japanese grammar (JLPT N5) with free video lessons! Watch the first and fourth video here and for the て-form I would suggest creating a little song in your head for each group. After that you can use this little nifty website to crank out some practice right away and let your brain really absorb the song you created yourself from earlier. Trust me, this will all just suddenly click one day and you’ll ask yourself how you could have ever been tricked by it before hahaha. Everyone learns things differently but this is what worked for me and hopefully it can help you get over that tricky beginner hump!


Thanks :slight_smile: I’m sure you’re right. It’s just a bit overwhelming when a lot of the other N5 grammar points are either things I already knew or are just ‘one thing’ each. Thanks for the links too!


Yeah N5 is really tricky because there’s a lot of material and rules you have to “memorize” (or maybe remember/learn is a better term?) and it can feel overwhelming. The graded readers in Bunpro will help out a ton, along with any natural reading you stumble upon in the wild. While all this is not exactly fun at first, you’ll see this so much going forward that as long as you have the basics down you’ll just eventually grasp the concept through repetition alone. Best of luck!


Thank you! Yeah I’m finding the graded readers really helpful. I’ve mainly been learning Japanese through Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone so far so even though there is a lot of vocab and grammar I know so far, it’s all polite language so I’m struggling with the casual language being taught here at the same time. But I’m sure that’ll come with exposure :slight_smile:

Are you using a textbook? I used Genki and it drills the hell out of you with all the conjugations that you encounter in N5. I would go running and listen to the practice section’s audio and that really helped.

If it’s any consolation, the て form conjugates the same way as casual past tense た, so once you’ve learned either form you already know the other.

So a verb followed by て means it is being done? Like “ing” at the end of words in english? Or am I not understanding this correctly?

Yep! This Tae Kim passage should expand on it a bit more.

You’ll also learn how て can be used to link things, but for now yes you’re on the right path!

My man pee pee bailing me out again
That webpage made it a lot more clear than the bunpro snippet ty

Yeee there’s a few N5 points that you need to learn off-site because there’s a lot to them, this is certainly one of them. Glad I could help, good luck with the conjugation :wink:


No, you are thinking of いる which is an auxiliary verb that attaches after <conjunctive form of verb>て.

て is a conjunctive particle. It allows you to connect two clauses together. There are more grammar points on this site which show how it can be used.

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Oops I completely screwed up, for some reason I thought this was the ている point and went off that wrong assumption. @gyroninja is 100% correct, disregard my earlier post!

I didn’t understand any of that.
Would you be so kind to give an example or dumb it down a bit?

Okay I read in my genki book since I remembered that the site gives book pages to reference parts you don’t understand. Now I think I have a slight working knowledge of what Te does but I don’t quite understand one point of it. How does it chance the example sentences?

食べる → 食べて
How is either part different? The examples are a bit too short for me to figure out and my book didn’t use those kind of examples so could someone tell me what it chances please?

返す → 返して

How is the right different from the left?

For example if you want to take “I woke up” 起きた and “I made breakfast” 朝ごはんを作った and combine them into a single sentence one way to do that is to use the て particle.

“I woke up and made breakfast” 起きて朝ごはんを作った

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Oh that’s what that means thank you very much that makes a lot more sense

Short answer: Because 食べて is used to connect another clause to the sentence. This can’t be done with just 食べる.

Long answer:

The left (食べる) is either the plain form or attributive form of 食べる.

Plain form is the form of a verb which represents an event which has not yet completed and is usually used at the end of a sentence.

Attributive form is the form used when you are describing a noun. For example 食べる人 is a person who eats.

When 食べて is used, you should expect it to be connected to another clause. If you were to see 食べて人, 人 would not be being described by 食べる, but rather人 belongs to the next clause that is being connected after the て particle.

On the right (食べて) we have the conjunctive form of 食べる, which is 食べ, followed by the て particle. Even without the て particle conjunctions can still be made, but this is more of a literary thing as it’s a part of classical Japanese. Bunpro has a grammar point on this here. A very important thing to note is that when attaching the て particle to the conjunctive form a euphonic change happens. This is why the て form of 座る is 座って and not 座りて. In fact that’s the whole point of the grammar point that this thread is about.


Thank you!

How can we say “i am trying to remember what I memorized yesterday.” // “kinou, oboeta no wo oboete miteimasu” ???
for example: yesterday i learned lots of new kanji and today (now) i am looking the kanji and trying to remember, kanji’s meanings

Some points:

  • In English, “to remember” can express both “to commit something to memory” and “to recall something from memory”. 覚える can’t do that, it can only cover the “commit” part. For “recall”, you could use 思い出す.
  • Similarly, -てみる means “try” in the “try it and see” kind of sense. Do something and see how it goes. It doesn’t express a conscious effort to achieve something. For that, you could use the volitional + とする construction.
  • The comma after 昨日 looks weird because it makes it seem like the 昨日 applies to the entire sentence.
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