One of the common functions that the conjunction particle て
has, is that it can contrast things that share some sort of relationship. This is similar to the contrastive use of は
. In order to identify this nuance of て
, we will need to think about whether the things being described are happening one after the other, or are simply describing ‘(A), and then (B)’. Let’s look at some examples.
My older sister studies every night, and my younger brother plays games.
My wife went shopping, while I went to throw away the trash.
Takeru eats rice, and Naomi eats bread.
Due to this ‘contrast’ that is shown with て
, sometimes it is translated as ‘while (A), also (B)’. The primary difference between this nuance of て
, and other ‘while’ or ‘but’ grammar points, is that (A) and (B) will always have equal weight/importance in a て
sentence. Comparatively, structures like けど
and similar points will usually imply that either (A) or (B) is more important in some way.
It rained this morning, and then it cleared up in the afternoon. (There is no particular emphasis on either event)
It rained this morning, but then it cleared up in the afternoon. (There is emphasis on that it stopped raining)