Reading ブラックジャックによろしく manga exercises (p14-and up)

Claiming R:


この this → 人(person)の(possessive marker)家族(family)『は』(topic marker):
This person’s family is the topic of the sentence, what the sentence is about.

一体(what the hell)どんな(what kind of)気持ち(feeling)『で』(manner of action):
How the heck do they feel (the family of the person)

100万円(100x10,000 yen) 出した(to take out) んだ (casual of のだ, used for emphasis):
*to have paid 100万円.

P.S.: Is there a difference between 気持 and 気持? I have two separate entries in my dictionary but as far from I can tell they are identical.

Full sentence: “How the hell does that person’s family feel about having paid 1000000 yen?”

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Claiming T:

At a glance, I think it means: “And you, do you want to live?” I’ll follow my gut feeling on this one.

☆I’ve added all the pictures in my first reply topic so that they’re easier to find as well. I’ve also put the currently available letters.


Claiming Q: Part 1


I’ve subdivided Q into two, ① and ②:

Picture subdivided

I’ll deal with them in two different replies.

Transcription ①:

With readings:

Without readings:


You guessed it, my question is about the 〜て form here as there are two of them.

The first one is だって which I suppose is the sequential 〜て. However, I googled it and I found various answers. 当直の時 means the time for the hospital job and I think だって is the casual 〜て form of the copula です. So it could mean:
its the time for the hospital job and

Another interpretation for だって from Japanese stack exchange:

Several answers above attempt to make the distinction between だって as a contraction of the copula だ and the quotation particle と, and だって as meaning “because” or “even” or “but”.However, ALL of the various uses of だって can be traced to a simple contraction of the copula だ and the quotation particle と.

So which one is it?

ⓐ sequential 〜て form of copula です in casual form
ⓑ だ+quotation particle と?

The rest of the sentence:
自分の失敗: my own failure…

The rest I wasn’t familiar with. I pasted 失敗ばかりこだわって in my dictionary to see how it would end up being parsed:
『ばかり』is actually a particle meaning: merely, only, nothing but…
こだわる is a verb, “to fuss over”;

Is こだわって also a sequential here?

Edit: I’ve added U-Y at the beginning of the thread.

I don’t think 一体 is really ‘the hell’ all the time, although that might work in this case. It’s just that I think, while he’s angry, he probably also feels sad for the family, so he might use slightly more respectful words to refer to their feelings. Generally, it’s just a way to strengthen a question, like ‘just how’ or ‘how exactly’ or even ‘however’.

Also, で is a sort of て-form (as much as it’s also a particle), so what comes before で happens at the same time or before what comes after で. So the sentence is closer to ‘How the hell/just how did that person’s family feel as they paid/about paying 1000 000 yen?’

For 気持ち vs 気持… check whether the definitions in your dictionary are in any way different. Most likely they aren’t. The kana that come after a kanji character in a word (that is, both the kana and the kanji are part of the same word) are called 送り仮名(okurigana) – ‘escort kana’, if you like. They’re there to give a clearer idea of what word the kanji is part of (for instance, they let us know if it’s a verb form, like 持ち in 気持ち). They’re optional, and I have a feeling that conventions about them have probably changed throughout history. However, I see that they’re quite common in written Japanese today, so I think it’s good practice to write them, because it helps avoid confusion (and this is in spite of the fact that I was against them when I started because I wanted to save time, and hey, Chinese has no okurigana).

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Q part ②:



Have you ever consider participating at I feel like you’d be an asset there. I can’t imagine a person more fitting. Also, your input would be archived there and referenced.

Development incoming:

ハガキ『が』: memo + subject particle;
来る『まで』v. to come + まで(until). Would it be wrong to interpret 来る here as an infinitive? I’m not sure because in English we’d word it as:

“Until the memo came…” I’m not sure how to interpret a non-inflected dictionary form verb in a sentence like this one. For some reason I currently believe: dictionary form = infinitive but I’d want to make sure my belief is grounded.

患者さん『の』事: last time @Jonapedia said that when a “function word” is written in kanji as opposed to kana, it has its first meaning, so “thing” here and not a nominaliser. So a patient’s thing.

なんてmeans “such as”, “like”;
すっかり: all, completely;
忘れてた: @Jonapedia, is this an instance where the い is omitted like what you talked about last time? 忘れて[い]た as in the past progressive?

Until that note came, I had completely forgotten that thing about the patient

I think 〜ていた here refers to the past perfect, not the past progressive, this is also something we talked about together.

Claiming S:

old man…

Nothing to explain here.

Claiming U:


Japanese English
死神【しにがみ】 God of death
歩く【あるく】 to walk

:speech_balloon:In the middle of the night, the god of death walks at the hospital

Again here there a dictionary form 歩く which I didn’t translate as a progressive but rather as a statement of fact, much like we sometimes use the simple present in English.

Claiming X:


:speech_balloon:Doctor, it’s terrible!!
Not much to say here, a pretty typical descriptive sentence. 大変【たいへん】means “very, greatly, terribly” with a negative connotation as far as I can tell.


:speech_balloon:Wake up please doctor!!

Claiming Y:

I’ll get the second part out of the way:


:speech_balloon:Wake up please!

As for the other one:


金子【きんす】funds; but since it’s followed by さん it’s probably the name of the old man;
急変しました【きゅうへん】sudden change, suru verb past;
:speech_balloon:There was a sudden change in mister Kinsu’s condition!

Claiming W:


:thought_balloon:平均して I’m having a bit of trouble with this one. So this is a 〜する verb and 平均 means average. Is it a sequential here as in the “the average is made” and then “in one night”, out if two people, one will die.

:speech_balloon:On average, in one night, out of two people, one person will die.

Claiming V:

:speech_balloon:At Eiroku university affiliated hospital, there are 1,100 beds…
:writing_hand: This ties in nicely with what follows: there are 1,100 beds and one out of two will die;

Claiming Z:


:speech_balloon:There is no pulse
This is a simple negative sentence. So the old man is presumably deceased for the moment.

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@Zizka Hm… it’s true that Stack Exchange is a little more of a Q&A forum where people attempt to compile knowledge without repeating threads on the same topic. Still though, no, I’ve never thought about it. I usually go there to look for answers as a guest reader. Also, a lot of my knowledge comes from dictionary trawling right after I receive a question, so I don’t know as much as I seem to know. Most of the stuff I say is a combination of my understanding of Japanese and what I read in a Japanese reference source that I stumbled through five minutes earlier. In fact, here’s an example right now: I’m gonna try to answer your question on だって with the etymology. (I sometimes wonder why I get myself into this when I could just give the most common uses and translations.)

スーパー大辞林 says this: だって is a combination of だ and とて, which itself is a combination of と and て. So, first of all, what is とて? It can be a case particle (indicates grammatical function), a linking particle (something that changes the nuance of a sentence ‘topic’, like は or も) or a conjunction. However, that’s all very technical, and I myself don’t understand all the implications of those terms… but in essence, all the meanings I could find for とて are essentially quite similar to と言って(も) or でも. What happens when we add だ? Well, mostly, it’s still basically でも, except for three other uses:

  1. Listing similar nouns, in which case it’s a bit more like も e.g. 私だって、あなただって、みんな日本語を勉強しています。
  2. Quoting what someone else said, usually because it’s surprising e.g. 何だって? (‘What did you say?’) 「六」だって? (You said ‘six’?)
  3. Justification (usually when it’s at the beginning of a sentence) e.g. だって今日はデートだから。(‘Because [I] have a date today.’)

In your sentence, it’s more like ‘even’ or でも. ‘Even about what happened during the time I was on duty,…’.

As for こだわって, yes, you can see it as sequential, since he was stuck on/fussing over his ‘failure’ first, and was only reminded of the patient when the postcard came.

EDIT: I think it might be easier for you to understand the link between と(いって) and all the functions listed above by remembering that 言う can also have a hypothetical sense in other languages, and its function is something like bringing something up for consideration (e.g. ‘Let’s say’ in English and “Disons” in French). In short, the Stack Exchange answer is more historically correct. However, your interpretation isn’t too far off either, since one of the equivalent structures for だって in my dictionary is 「…であっても…だ」, and if you remember that だ comes from a verbal simplification of である, you’ll see that it’s not too different from だって.

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Before I proceed any further,
am I right to say that だって doesn’t have anything to do with the sequential 〜て as in こだわって?


So it’s sequential in what sense in that case though? What is happening first and then second? I’m fuzzy about that.

Also, episode 3 is now finished.

Since it hasn’t been a week since we’ve created the thread I surmise we’ll continue episode 4 here until the week has gone when we can create the official thread.

Episode 4 夏雲: Summer Clouds

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I’m starting to worry that I tried too hard to break down the different uses of て and that it’s confusing you now… or that conversely, I didn’t break them down enough, and so that’s giving you a hard time… :sweat_smile: If you want to try someone else’s explanation, you can look at this: (There are some cutesy dinosaurs on the page, about 4 pictures, but you can just ignore then if they bother you.)

The problem is that I can’t give you a straight answer while being honest. If you look at its origin and literal meaning as basically a form of だと(いっ)て, it definitely can be seen as a sequential thing in terms of argumentation, because you affirm something and then consider the rest of the sentence. But if I take its actual meaning in this sentence… I’d say no, it’s not sequential, it’s more like は or でも.

As for こだわって, as I said,

  1. He was focused on his failure, and kept thinking about it
  2. Then he got the postcard/letter and remembered the patient

Honestly though, let me try to simplify the meaning of the て-form for you. You can tell me if it doesn’t work for you, it’s fine. I’m just not sure how else to make it easier to grasp.

  1. Like I said the first time I attempted to explain this structure, you can think of て as something like ‘and’ for verbs. I think that’s also what’s suggested in the example on the Kawa Kawa page. Another way of looking at it is as ‘-ing’ in the middle of a sentence. If you understand how these things work in English, you should find that て is quite similar.
  2. The other way to look at is, which is very concise but perhaps a bit abstract, is that 〜て just means you assume 〜 is a given action, that it’s already happening… and then you determine what that means by looking at the rest of the sentence.

That’s all I can think of for now. If you explain exactly what you don’t understand or what is confusing, maybe using examples, I will try to think of another explanation. To be very honest though, even though I really like breaking things down and analysing them in languages, along with learning all the different uses of one word/structure, when I look at て, I don’t really break it down. I just take it as a connector with a meaning similar to ‘and’ or ‘-ing’, remember vaguely what the different uses are, then try to place it somewhere along that spectrum. It’s very rarely perfectly precise. It just means that both actions happen, with the て action happening at the same time or slightly before, and it’s up to you to figure out what that means based on the context.

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Oh I understand that, that’s clear. Although I don’t see where you get that he “kept thinking about it” from but I guess I shouldn’t start investigating everything as I’d end up overwhelmed. I mean, you probably get it from ばかり, absolutely. To absolutely “fuss over” something. But, to me, there’s no indication that he was obsessed with his failure over time. I don’t get this idea from the structure of the sentence. So I might be missing something grammatically or this could be related to personal interpretation.

That 〜て meaning “and” is self-explanatory and understood at a glance. The -ing in the middle of a sentence, I don’t understand. You could mean a progressive tense or a gerund. It’s not a gerund as it’s not something we e touched upon but a -ing suffix in English could be a number of things so I can’t anchor it to anything in my head if I’m being sincere. In our context you probably mean a combination of a progressive and “and”. So: I was fussing(past progressive) over my failure then I realised I had forgotten about that patient.

Now I fully comprehend that Japanese and English aren’t 1:1 but I can’t relate on my target language as I don’t have the foundations to relate in the target language. In order to understand, I can only rely to my existing my knowledge in French and English. Or I could let this go for now and have faith that with sufficient input I’ll understand this without being able to formulate what it means.

To give you an idea: です expresses that something is. What that English explanation, I can interpret that structure with little risk of making a mistake and misunderstanding. I want to find a way to have a comprehensible L1 reference to systematically interpret 〜て somewhat accurately.

So it’s a progressive tense then? Past or present?

…but that fairly understandable to me if I can apply it when it comes up.

I’d really like to read how the other conceptualise this. The resounding silence makes me wonder whether it clear for everyone or if they’re not comfortable saying it’s not clear and ask for more information. I honestly don’t know.

It’s difficult to admit I don’t understand something as I could say: a vaguely get it but I’d rather say the truth. I’ll check that link, maybe it’ll clear things up.

In the article you’ve linked there are a total of 12 functions for the 〜て form and from what I can tell they are mutually exclusive. They might be written the same but their uses vary considerably from one context to another.

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Ok, this is actually from the story. I just extrapolated from whatever I’ve seen so far. He’s clearly very hung up on his ‘failure’. You’re right though, ばかり is also part of it, because that means he ‘only’ focused on that. But it’s mainly from the story. It’s not in the literal meaning of the sentence, not at all.

About the て-form

First of all, the rest are very welcome to pitch in. I think my approach to learning a new language tends to be like this: abstract/unclear -> concrete -> abstract. That is, when I first learn a new structure, I don’t really have a clear idea of what it means, so I learn a few uses and see a few examples. After that, I try to find a central idea that’s common to all of those uses, and I use that ‘gist’ to develop a feel for how to use the word so I don’t need to refer to definitions anymore (or at least, not as much). Thus, I might have trouble making my ideas more explicit since my internal ‘reference point’ can be something fuzzy at times. I’d like to see how you all think about the て-form, and how it’s different from how I look at it.

To answer your question, or at least to give you a better idea of how I apply my idea, I’m going to try to take one example sentence from each use given by Kawa Kawa, and show you how I learnt it or how I understand it:

Analysis of all 12 examples from Kawa Kawa
  1. Phrase/sentence linking: 猫を助け て、 家に帰ります。
    The て action: ‘helping a cat’
    It’s followed by ‘[I] return home’
    Can I help a cat and return home at the same time? No, I guess not. It can also be sequential, right? Or offer a justification/cause? Hm… OK, sequential seems good. ‘I’ll help the cat, then/and go home.’

  2. Requests/instructions: 猫を助け てください
    The て action: ‘helping a cat’
    It’s followed by ください. What is ください? It’s a short form for くださいませ, which is a command form of くださる, which is a respectful version of くれる, which means ‘to give’ or ‘to do (for me)’. OK, so I’m politely asking that the action of ‘helping a cat’ be ‘given to me’ or ‘done for me’. Therefore, ‘please help the cat.’

  3. ‘Even if’: 彼の猫を助け ても 、アタシとデートに行きません。
    The て action: ‘helping his cat’
    Followed by ‘not go on a date with me’
    も=inclusive particle similar to ‘also’
    Core idea: ‘he won’t go on a date with me’. Therefore, perhaps what comes before is something that works with that. A reason? A justification? But there’s も… ‘including the action “helping his cat”, he won’t go on a date with me’… Therefore, ‘even if I help his cat, he won’t go on a date with me.’

  4. Asking permission: 猫を助け てもいいですか?
    The て action: ‘helping a cat’
    Followed by ‘is it good?’
    Using the analysis from earlier, we get ‘including the action “helping a cat”, is it good?’. We’re including the case in which the cat is helped… so ‘is it good even if I help the cat’? If it’s ‘good’, then it’s ‘OK’, meaning I have permission. Therefore, ‘Is it OK if I help the cat?’

  5. Prohibition: 猫を助け てはいけません
    The て action: ‘helping a cat’
    Followed by ‘cannot go’.
    Particle in between is は. は indicates the context or topic, and can be used to strengthen the focus on something.
    The topic for consideration is therefore the action of ‘helping the cat’. ‘The action “helping a cat” cannot go’. What does ‘cannot go’ mean? Well, usually, it means ‘it’s not acceptable’, similar to “ça (ne) va pas” in French. OK, so ‘The action of “helping a cat” is not acceptable’, meaning it’s not allowed.

  6. Doing something before/in preparation for something: ジャケットを脱い でおきます
    The て action: taking off a jacket
    Followed by ‘put (in a particular location)’
    Note: here, like in sentence 1, the subject of the て action and the action that follow are the same. Let’s say it’s me. ‘I put (in a particular location) the action “taking off a jacket”.’ Where do I put it? Maybe if I put it in place, I will be able to do something else. That means I do the action ‘taking off a jacket’ first. Therefore, this means ‘I take off my jacket first/beforehand’ (in order to prepare for something).

  7. Trying something: 猫を助け てみます
    The て action: helping a cat
    Followed by みます
    What’s みます? It must come from 見ます=見る= to see/look. ‘I will help the cat and see’. What do I ‘see’? We say ‘wait and see’ or ‘open it and see’. Perhaps this means I will look at the result… so I can ‘try’ my luck. Therefore ‘I will try helping the cat.’

  8. Accidents/unwilling actions: 猫を助け てしまいました
    The て action: helping a cat
    Followed by しまいました=しまう, which means, among other things, ‘to finish (doing)’
    Again, we assume a subject based on context, let’s say me: ‘I helped the cat and finished.’ I was considering the action ‘helping the cat’, and that has something to do with my ‘finishing’… Maybe that describes how I finished my actions? Therefore… ‘I ended up helping the cat.’ (“J’ai fini par aider le chat.”)

  9. 猫を助け てすみません
    The て action: helping a cat
    Followed by すみません=む, which means, among other things, ‘to do’ i.e. ‘to be sufficient/satisfactory’. すみません is therefore an apology for something I (the subject we are assuming) did not do right/satisfactorily.
    ‘The action “helping a cat” being a given, I did not act satisfactorily (and am sorry).’ That means ‘by helping the cat, I did wrong.’ Therefore, ‘I am sorry for helping the cat.’

  10. Doing someone else a favour: 猫を助け てあげます
    The て action: helping a cat
    Followed by あげます=あげる= ‘to give (to someone else)’
    ‘The action “my helping the cat” being a given, I give (to someone else).’ What am I giving? Maybe I a giving that action to someone? Therefore ‘I help the cat (for someone else).’

  11. 猫を助け てから 、家に帰りました。
    The て action: helping a cat
    Followed by ‘I returned home’
    から means ‘from’ or ‘after’, and expresses the idea of departing from a particular starting point. The starting point is therefore the action ‘helping a cat’. It’s just a て-form. I have no information about when it happens, except that it has to happen before or at the same time as the next action. I don’t even know whether it’s happening in the present, past or future: that depends on the tense for the next action. The next action is in the past. Ok, so the action ‘helping a cat’ happens in the past. Since it’s a て-form, から means ‘from’ in terms of time, which is ‘after’. Therefore, ‘After I helped the cat, I returned home.’

  12. Action in progress: 猫を助け ています
    The て action: helping a cat
    Followed by います=いる= to exist (as an animate object/person)
    ‘I help the cat and exist’ OR ‘helping the cat, I exist’ OR ‘The action “helping the cat” being a given, I exist’. Therefore, ‘helping the cat’ defines my current state of existence. Thus, ‘I exist while helping the cat’. That is the state of my existence. Therefore, ‘I am helping the cat.’

There, all 12 sentences analysed. I hope that by reading that, you’ll understand my thought process. Sometimes, it’s not well phrased. Other times, it may not be that clear. But I hope you can see what I meant by the action being ‘a given’. Sometimes て is like ‘and’. Other times, it’s like ‘-ing’, because the action is, in one way or another, ongoing, either in time and space, or as something being considered in one’s mind. Ultimately, some of this probably came with experience, but that’s the essence of the idea.

I’m going to give you one last way of thinking about it, and maybe that will help you much more: you know le subjonctif in French? You use it when you need to consider an action, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the action happens, right? You just need to express the action so you can consider it? Yeah, so, maybe the て form is like le subjonctif: its value and meaning can only be fully determined after the rest of the sentence (before the “que” in French; after the て in Japanese) is seen.


Oh I don’t think you need to cover each sentence separately, that would take you a lot of time. Next time I come across the ~て form, I’ll list which one it is from the 12 provided and you could tell me if I’m right or wrong. What I find incredible is that you’ve managed to distill those 12 functions into two. It’s great that you’ve managed to do that as they seem very different one from another.

I’ll claim #1 (from Episode 4):

The first line is the time:
:speech_balloon:1:20 in the morning

Then comes the name of the 75 years old man:
:speech_balloon:金子(I can’t find how to make the next character to appear although I’ve identified it in my dictionary)(おっと)(75(さい))『の』

what follows is the possessive 『の』is 容体(ようだい) which means “condition” and then the 『が』subject particle. So the condition of the old man is the subject of the sentence.

I just saw all of this vocabulary so it’s still fresh in my memory. 急変(きゅうへん) is a する verb which mean “sudden change”. We also saw 心臓(しんぞう) before and it means “the heart”. What follows is a second が which might be a second subject particle, not sure.

Finally, 停止(ていし) is a する verb and it means “coming to a stop”.

:speech_balloon:At 1:20 in the morning, (old man’s name)(75 years old)'s condition took a sudden turn as his heart stopped beating.

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@Zizka There you go. I was almost done with the analysis when you posted your message.

Everyone: I hope my analysis helps you understand how I think about the て. I won’t guarantee that it works every time. To be honest, I think how my brain works with language is that, once I feel like I’ve managed to get a multi-purpose ‘gist’ out of everything I’ve seen about a structure, I will look for every possible way to twist and massage that gist to fit into every single function of that structure. I look for every possible connection I can find. Maybe it’s ‘lateral thinking’, I don’t know, but if there’s a way to slightly warp my understanding of the ‘core meaning’/‘gist’ of a structure that allows it to fit what it specifically means in context, I will do it.

I don’t have the textbook that I first used to learn Japanese on me, so I can’t check how the て-form was first explained to me. @YanagiPablo might have a copy, and I guess he can look inside if he’s interested. After a lot of searching, I found a few old photos of the book that I took while doing the lesson translations, and all I can tell you is that, in the literal translation, all the て-forms are written using the infinitive form in French, which is exactly the same as how they listed the present tense verbs at the end of sentences. It’s really just meant to be a way to list actions that occur together. (I mean that in the broad sense of ‘happening around the same time within the same context’).


I haven’t had time to read the entire discussion so forgive me for potentially making it even more confusing than it already is; I’ve also never really bothered to learn “individual uses” of the て-form so this is doomed to be an unhelpful comment already, but I can at least try to clarify the lines a bit.

Context: knowing it was useless and the downfall of society etc etc, 白鳥 (I missed the romanisation somewhere, is it Shiratori?) still let the patient get a useless surgery for money’s sake, at the professor’s orders. Saitou thinks Shiratori is a hypocrite and that he should have opposed the prof, but then comes to the realisation that he himself is essentially the same; he didn’t say anything back to Shiratori and “wasn’t thinking of the patient at all”… Then comes this phrase:

僕が考えていたのは自分のことばかりだ… 当直の時の事だって自分の失敗にばかりこだわって…
“I was only thinking about myself… Even on call I was only fussing about my own mistakes…”

だって corresponds to “even” in my translation. I’m not sure if it originally came from copula+て-form or anything like that, but in modern Japanese it’s used like でも (unless it’s copula+quotation particle って) and doesn’t have much of a relation to the て-form. Here are some examples of its uses, “1 〔…でさえ〕even” and “2 〔…もまた,…でも〕” are the ones that apply to this sentence.

Then about the て-form… The way I think about it, it has two uses: 1) to connect a verb and auxiliary verbs/grammar points (e.g. , 話しいる, 試しみる) and 2) to connect other stuff. “Other stuff” can be anything; words, sentences, events, different speakers, even nothing (trailing off a sentence). It doesn’t do much, except showing that A and B are in some way related to each other - how they’re related is up to you to figure out based on the rest of the sentence. Now that I’m typing this I wonder if you can translate this second use as “and”; might not always give a pretty sentence but maybe it’s easier to imagine the relationship between thing A and thing B that way.
In this case, what Saitou says next is:

“I’d completely forgotten about the patient until the letter came”

So the て-form こだわって means that Saitou was fussing about his mistakes and had forgotten about the patient until the letter. […]こだわっていた、そして[…] would mean the same thing but it’s longer and people are lazy.

Different examples for good measure: 頭が痛くて宿題に集中できなかった"my head hurt and I couldn’t focus on my homework" -> Both things happened so it’s not wrong to use ‘and’ per se, but most people will instinctively say ‘because’ instead.
電車に乗って会社に行った “I rode the train and went to the office” -> again, both things happened, and while I don’t explicitly say it that way, most people will understand I went to the office by train.



Ha, turns out we said basically the same thing! I need to actually read the replies before I post something :sweat_smile:


Hahaha. Never mind, at least it shows we agree. And I really don’t blame you for not reading everything, especially because my analysis of the 12 sentences was really long. I also think your version is more concisely and clearly phrased, which is good. I was just trying to think of as many ways as possible to help Zizka look at て so that hopefully, it would be a little clearer, or something would click. That’s why I brought out the subjunctive in French and even my weird ‘the て action is a given’ interpretation.

Ultimately, as your summary shows, て exists for just one purpose: it links two verbs/actions. How exactly is up to us to figure out. But I figured that might be hard to accept without some experience, so I tried to come up with a framework of sorts by listing a few common uses. That didn’t go so well, so I tried looking for pages with other uses, thinking I had missed something. (I’ve already forgotten how I learnt to accept て as a beginner. Truth is though, I really think my book said, ‘It shows there’s a link.’ Otherwise it wouldn’t have translated all the て forms exactly the same way as the sentence-ending forms: with an infinitive.) The 12-function analysis was my attempt at showing Zizka how I think about it/how I learnt to accept these structures, since maybe ‘finding the link yourself’ is something you can only learn through experience in different contexts.

Anyway, @Zizka, I don’t mean to pester you, but do you feel it’s clearer now? Or at the least, did you understand how I think through these things? (If it didn’t help, please be honest and say so. Either way, you’ll get it eventually through exposure and experience, as long as you remember there’s a link, you just have to find it.)

EDIT: Could the others also tell me if you feel it helped or if it just made everything more confusing? I’m interested to know what you think. I don’t know if you found て confusing before this, but even if you didn’t, you can tell me what you thought of the explanations.


I mean, I think it’s clearer yes. I think I’ll find out how much I understand the concept when I finally come across it again in the texts.


I’m surely not very good at cleanly conceptualizing those things I think.

For me those te-form are a way to chain verbs to other verbs; it is quite loose, and it is, I think, more about “mood” than actual “action” between those chained verbs.
Actually, sometimes it is exclusively about mood, with the so called auxiliary verbs (that for the most part also exist as independent verbs; so maybe all those constructs as ている, ていく, てしまう, etc. were at the beginning just “normal” chaining of te-form verbs).

When you wrote on the other forum that you were going elsewhere; I wrote then:


Well, I’m not a native speaker, and maybe that sentence is wrong; but as nobody corrected me it seems it isn’t that bad.

It could be translated as “Come back soon and write, please”,
but also, I think, as “Come back soon to write, please”.
Well, at least when I wrote it that was my idea; I wanted to convey a strong link between both verbs.

The same way that you are grammatically forced in French to choose a plurality and gender to construct your sentence, you are forced to choose (same in English) one of the two (or maybe even more) possibilities of my example sentence above.

And the same way as a Japanese speaker doesn’t think about plurality or gender when doing a sentence, I think he doesn’t think either about a particular realization of those te-form chainings.
(Of course, if the speaker wants to be explicit, it is possible to word so to make it explicit; but it is not something imposed by grammar, it is instead a comunicational choice)

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Which confirms that it’s not related to casual です in ~て form. But anyways, next time a ~て comes up we’ll be in a better position to further dig into this.

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