In Japanese, て
is a very important conjunction particle that can be used with many different structures. When it is partnered with a verb, it has special conjugation rules, depending on whether it is being added to a る-Verb
or a う-Verb
. In the case of う-Verbs
, it also depends on what the preceding kana is.
The most common translation in any situation is just ‘and’ or ‘then’, due to (B) being highlighted as something that happens/happened after (A).
To climb a mountain, then rest. (To climb a mountain, and rest)
To eat, then sleep. (To eat, and sleep)
In these examples, we can see that て
basically means ‘(A) て
(B)’ = ‘(A) happened, then (B)’. However, this is only when it is linked to another verb.
Sometimes the て
form appears as で
. This is a change that happened throughout the course of history, in order to make sentences flow more smoothly. Despite this, there is no difference in meaning between て
as a vocal change.
To read a book, then return it. (て appearing as で)
To play, then go home. (て appearing as で)
The easiest way to identify whether to use て
is by looking at the preceding kana. If the plain (dictionary) form of the verb finishes in ぐ, ぬ, ぶ, or む, then で
will be used. る-Verbs
never use で
There are several irregular verbs when it comes to て
form conjugation. Let’s look at an example of each one.
I go to school, then study. (行（い）く’s conjugation with て)
To go on a diet, then lose weight. (する’s conjugation with て)
To come to the park, then play. (来（く）る’s conjugation with て)
To enquire about the answer, then write it down. (問（と）う’s conjugation with て)
To get permission, then act out. (請（こ）う’s conjugation with て)
Apart from these 5 verbs, the rules for て
form conjugation are 100% consistent.