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

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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Oh you don’t pester me at all, don’t be silly. You’re giving a lot of your time to explain things to me, how could I ever complain?


I was about to go offline, but when I saw this intriguing sentence I couldn’t resist:

I think you’ve got the right idea for て! Unfortunately, if that’s what you wanted to say, the sentence is slightly off. Two things: 1. 戻る=come back (to a place); 帰る=to go/come home (and it really only works for this sense: going back to one’s home country, home province…). So it should have been 戻って 2. もう is closer to ‘already’, so it’s more like ‘oh, come on and do ~ already!’ Also, erm… I feel like もう would only work if you were talking to Zizka when he wasn’t on the old forum. It’s a bit like telling a family member, ‘Come home already!’ when they’re standing in front of you at home. :stuck_out_tongue:

So, what your sentence actually translated to: ‘Please go home and write already!’ = ‘Hurry up and go home and write, please!’ Like you said though, yes, it’s possible that the person goes home in order to write.

For what you wanted to write, I think 早く戻って書いてくだい=‘quickly come back and write, please’ works, but I think 早く書きに戻ってください=‘quickly come back to write, please’ is better. It’s like when Japanese people see off some friends after a party or a nice chat over dinner. I think one thing they can say is また遊びに来てね!(literally ‘Come (by) to have fun again, ok?’) Speaking of which, you could replace 早く with また in the sentence I suggested, and add a ね at the end, but then the idea of ‘soon’ is only implied by the tone, and isn’t in the sentence itself.

Anyway, with that, I’l go offline. See you guys again.

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Yes, I it was 帰る that was intended (back then).

For adverbs, I still struggle with them;

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You can enter it not character by character, but trough the reading of the name (which sometimes are special, indeed) : 金子敏夫=かねことしお


I’ll claim #2:

:speech_balloon:Come back to life!



This is the page that follows after that…

P. 4-5:


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Actually all verbs are in infinitive, I think it is simply to show that Japanese verbs don’t conjugate at all like French.
Past (~た) is “infinitif passé” (eg: 行く = aller, 行った = être allé).

That makes sense however; I don’t see how it could be done differently, as French only have three “person-less” verbal constructions, infinitif, infinitif passé (which map nicely to non-past and past of Japanese) and participe présent (gerund).

… I found out my old Japanese classes notebook ; in the margin of one of the pages I had compiled this list of kanji abbreviations of countries: 伊、独、西、露、仏、和、英、印、中、朝、韓、蘭、濠

(Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, France, Japan, England/UK, India, China, North Korea, South Korea, Netherlands, Australia)

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I’ll claim #3:



(I recognize ‘fei chang’ in Chinese, the first two characters. It means extremely).
非常(ひじょう)に:very, extremely;
(もう)()げ:ichidan v., to say, to tell, to express;
:zap:Note: the first に of the sentence is an adverbial while the second に is the indirect object marker;
くい(こと):according to Weblio, it means ‘‘a delicate matter’’:



delicate matter

:speech_balloon:It is an extremely delicate matter to say.

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Ah, I see! Yes, ok, I understand why you used 帰って now. Really shows how important context is. :sweat_smile:

And yes, come to think of it, Japanese verbs don’t have grammatical ‘persons’, so the infinitive made sense. Still, what I meant was that there was no special marking (like my current ‘[verb]-TE’ label), which perhaps shows that they’re not too different from the verbs at the end of the sentence.

Out of curiosity though, how did you find the reading for 金子敏夫? I’m really bad at figuring out Japanese given names. I can always use handwriting input to get the characters, but I don’t know if that’s what you do.

It was given in furigana the first time it appeared frame N of page 23 of Ep.2.


(I remember because I did it myself; and I would have expected a Korean name by the kanji alone (金=Kim)).

With the exception of Ushida, Saitou and Eijirou; I wouldn’t have guessed others if no furigana was given first time (and even those 3 had furigana on their first occurrence too)


Claiming 4:

☆I’ll be hosting the pictures to translate at the third reply if the thread so we don’t have to look for them all over the thread. I’ve already put episode 3 pictures and episode 4 pictures too.



So regarding the very beginning of the sentence

意識【いしき】consciousness; your father’s consciousness. The 様 denotes appearance, “look like”. Would it therefore be accurate to say:
:speech_balloon:It seems like your father’s consciousness…
…would be the subject as indicated by by が that follows.

The next part:
回復【かいふく】means “restoration” or more appropriate in this context, recovery;
見込み【みこみ】hope, promise or more appropriate in this context, chance;

The last part:
ほぼ: almost;
なくなりました: of the verb either “to die” or “to be lost”;

:speech_balloon:Your father’s chance to recover consciousness was almost gone



Note: each time Pr. Kasukabe speaks, there is もごもご around him; so I looked what it means:
“mumbling; chewing one’s words​”.
Indeed, speaking without opening the mouth is a way of doing in Japan of people that want to present themselves as very important and superior.

" Currently, the heart is beating again after a cardiac massage, but..."

現在 心臓マッサージ で なんとか 心拍 は 戻ってはいます が
current(ly) hearth.massage [mean] something hearth.beat [topic] turn.back+emphasis+teiru+masu but


  • 現在 (げんざい) : current(ly)
  • 心臓 (しんぞう) : hearth (the organ) (心=herth, 臓=entrails, inner organ)
  • なんとか : something, somehow.
  • 心拍 (しんぱく) : hearth bit
  • 戻る (もどる) : to turn back, to recover.

The が at the end is maybe just there for politeness or a real “but”.
As the next sentences talks about various body failures, it is a “but”

The Japanese phrase says the heart beat turned back by means of a cardiac massage; but it sounds more natural in English to say after a cardiac massage.

Also, I couldn’t but notice that Pr. Kasukabe doesn’t just say cardiac massage, but adds なんとか;
am I correct in feeling it is a bit derogatory ?

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