Grammar Info
N2 Lesson 4: 17/18

repeating action, if・since

Verb[て](A) + + Verb[て](B) +
Verb[て](A) + + Verb[て](A) +
Register Standard
使用域 一般
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)は食(た)べては寝(ね)て、食(た)べては寝(ね)ての繰(く)り返(かえ)しだから太(ふと)ってきた。
    Recently I have been eating and sleeping, eating and sleeping, so I have gained some weight.
  • 仕事(しごと)ではミスしては怒(おこ)られ、怒(おこ)られてはミスをする。毎日(まいにち)この繰(く)り返(かえ)しだから仕事(しごと)を辞(や)めようと思(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 am 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)しないで食(く)っちゃ寝(ね)食(く)っちゃ寝(ね)ばかりしていると牛(うし)になるよ!
    If you eat and sleep, eat and sleep without exercising, you are going to turn into a cow!
  • 薬(くすり)を飲(の)んじゃ吐(は)いて、飲(の)んじゃ吐(は)いてを何回(なんかい)も繰(く)り返(かえ)したから喉(のど)が痛(いた)い。
    My throat hurts because I've taken the pills and thrown up, then taken them 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)なしで走(はし)れるようになるには、疲(つか)れるまで1キロ走(はし)っては休憩(きゅうけい)しての繰(く)り返(かえ)しを1ヶ月(かげつ)間(かん)毎日(まいにち)続(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.
Slow Male
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歩(ある)いては走(はし)り、走(はし)っては歩(ある)き、(を 繰(く)り返(かえ)すことは)、ジョギングしてみたいけれど体力(たいりょく)に不安(ふあん)な人(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.
Recently my internet connection is terrible. It connects and disconnects, connects and disconnects (repeatedly)… It is driving me nuts.
Countryman: I only work and sleep, work and sleep (repeatedly)… This is not the good life.
完全マスター N1
Page 104
Tobira (Gateway to Advanced Japanese)
Page 307-3