Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 9: 2/22

Formal Conjunctive

Used primarily in written language

Verb[ます+ Phrase
[い]Adjective[+ Phrase
Register Formal
使用域 硬い
In Japanese, the 連用形(れんようけい) (conjunctive form) is often called ‘the ます form’, or ‘the conjunctive form’. ‘The conjunctive form’ is much more accurate, as 連用形(れんようけい) is used with more than just verbs. Basically, the 連用形(れんようけい) is the form of any word that will be used in standard conjugation with other structures. For い-Adjectives, this is the form that uses く, for verbs, the ます stem.
The reason that 連用形(れんようけい) is sometimes referred to as ‘the formal conjunctive’ is due to its use before a comma. Usually, the 接続助詞(せつぞくじょし) て would be used to separate clauses in sentences, however, the formal conjunctive allows this to be done without て. Let’s look at some examples.
  • 飛行機(ひこうき)エンジン爆発(ばくはつ)、海(うみ)墜落(ついらく)した。
    The engine of the airplane exploded, (and) it crashed into the ocean.
  • 朝食(ちょうしょく)食(た)、出(で)かける準備(じゅんび)てください
    Eat your breakfast, (and) please get ready to go out.
  • 北海道(ほっかいどう)は寒(さむ)、景色(けしき)綺麗(きれい)。
    Hokkaido is cold, (and) the scenery is pretty.
  • 学校(がっこう)は楽(たの)し、色々(いろいろ)学(まな)べるので学校(がっこう)好(す)きです
    School is fun, (and) I can learn various things so I like it.
As we can see, although て is not required, a 読点(とうてん) (Japanese comma) will be required to prevent the sentence from becoming confusing.
This type of conjugation is seen primarily in formal writing, and the standard て form will be heard much more frequently in daily speech.
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The wind blew, a demon appeared.
Memorizing the book, I then set my sights on the test.
I messed up my speech (and), without thinking, let out a sigh.
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みんなの日本語 II
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Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
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[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
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