Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 17/18


Repeating action, If, Since


Verb[て](A) + + Verb[て](B) +
Verb[て](A) + + Verb[て](A) +


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About ては〜ては

Another structure making use of the combined て and は particles is ては~ては. This grammar pattern highlights that the actions of (A) and (B) are continuously being repeated and can be interpreted as 'doing (A) and (B) repeatedly'. The (A) and (B) actions will often be things that contrast each other in some respect, such as starting and stopping, walking and running, going forwards and then backwards, etc.
ては~ては will be used with verbs in the て-form, so will occasionally appear as では.
  • ここ最近(さいきん)()ては()て、()ては()ての()(かえ)しだから(ふと)ってきた。
    Recently I've been eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping, so I've gained some weight.
  • 仕事(しごと)ではミスしては(おこ)られ、(おこ)られてはミスをする。毎日(まいにち)この()(かえ)しだから仕事(しごと)()めようと(おも)う。
    At work, I make a mistake and get yelled at, get yelled at and make a mistake. This repeats every day so I'm thinking of quitting my job.
The abbreviated versions of ちゃ and じゃ may also be seen with the grammar point, but it may be considered unnatural if the same abbreviation is not used both times. This is mainly due to the level of formality being required to stay the same within sentences.
  • 運動(うんどう)しないで()ちゃ()()ちゃ()ばかりしていると(うし)になるよ!
    If you eat and sleep, eat and sleep without exercising, you are going to turn into a cow!
  • (くすり)()じゃ()いて、()じゃ()いてを何回(なんかい)()(かえ)したから(のど)(いた)い。
    My throat hurts because I've taken medicine and thrown up, then taken it and thrown up over and over.
Caution - ては may sometimes appear only once, without any change to the meaning of repetition. This is usually when there is some indication in the rest of the sentence that the action is something that is being repeated over and over.
  • 5キロを休憩(きゅうけい)なしで(はし)れるようになるには、(つか)れるまで1キロ(はし)ては休憩(きゅうけい)しての()(かえ)しを1ヶ月(かげつ)(かん)毎日(まいにち)(つづ)けることが必要(ひつよう)です。
    To be able to run 5 kilometers without taking a break, you need to run for a kilometer, then take a break, and repeat that process everyday for a month.


  • (ある)ては(はし)り、(はし)ては(ある)き、(を ()(かえ)ことは)、ジョギングしてみたいけれど体力(たいりょく)不安(ふあん)(ひと)にとって、いいトレーニング方法(ほうほう)です。

    Walking and running, running and walking (repeatedly) is a great method of training for people who want to try jogging, but are worried about endurance.

  • 最近(さいきん)、インターネット接続(せつぞく)(わる)接続(せつぞく)ては切断(せつだん)して、接続(せつぞく)ては切断(せつだん)して。(を()(かえ)ことは)イライラさせられる。

    Recently my internet connection is terrible. It connects and disconnects, connects and disconnects (repeatedly)… It is driving me nuts.

  • 田舎者(いなかもの):「(はたら)ては()て、(はたら)ては()てばかりだ。このような人生(じんせい)はダメだ。」

    Countryman: 'I only work and sleep, work and sleep (repeatedly)… This is not the good life.'

  • ある研究(けんきゅう)によると、一番(いちばん)勉強(べんきょう)方法(ほうほう)は20-40(ふん)勉強(べんきょう)ては休憩(きゅうけい)してを()(かえ)ことです。

    According to some research, the best way to learn is to study for about 20-40 minutes, rest and repeat.

  • あくびをしてはフリスクを()べ、あくびをしてはフリスクを()べ、(なん)とか()きていられた。

    By yawning and eating a mint, yawning and eating a mint, I was somehow able to wake up.

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