Making Japanese Verbs te-form -
Free Japanese Lessons: 21

As you will see, て-form (te-form) of Japanese verbs has many functions. You can use it to form different verb sentences.

One basic function of te-form is to connect verb sentences.

When two or more actions take place in succession, the actions are mentioned in the order of occurrence by using the te-form. It looks similar to the function of the English word "then".

There is no past tense for te-form. The tense of the sentence is determined by the tense form of the last verb in the sentence.

Therefore for those actions taken before the last verb, they are always represented by te-form. For example,

  • あさパンをたべて、コーヒーをのんで、がっこうへいきます。
    asa pan wo tabete, ko-hi- wo nonde, gakkou e ikimasu

    Meaning: In the morning, I eat bread, drink coffee and go to the school.
  • としょかんへいって、ほんをかりて、うちへかえりました。
    toshokan e itte, hon wo karite, uchi e kaerimashita

    Meaning: I went to the library, borrowed a book and went back home.

How to Make Japanese Verbs て-form (te-form)?

Let's see how to make te-form from dictionary-form.

Group 1 Verbs

For group 1 verbs which end up with the words う (u), つ (tsu) or る (ru), replace these words with って (tte). For those verbs which end up with the words む (mu), ぬ (nu) or ぶ (bu), replace the words with んで (nde).

For group 1 verbs which end up with the word く (ku), change the word to いて (ite). For those which end up with the word ぐ (gu), change it to いで (ide). And for those which end up with the word す (su), change it to して (shite).

However, there is one exception. (In Japanese you always come across many exceptions). For the japanese verb いく (iku) which means "to go", the te-form is いって (itte).

Group 2 Verbs

Group 2 verbs always end with the word る (ru), you just need to replace る (ru) with て (te).

Group 3 Verbs

For group 3 verbs, the te-form of する (suru) is して (shite) and the te-form of くる (kuru) is きて (kite).

The following diagram shows the summary of how to change from dictionary-form to te-form for Japanese verbs.

Japanese Verbs: change dict-form to te-form

Examples of Changing Japanese Verbs to te-form

Let's see some examples of changing Japanese verbs from dictionary-form to te-form.

Group 1 Verbs

dict-form Meaning te-form
1. ある Exist (Thing) あって
2. かかる Hang/Take かかって
3. よむ Read よんで
4. のむ Drink のんで
5. きく Listen/Ask きいて
6. みがく Brush みがいて
7. あらう Wash あらって
8. かう Buy かって
9. いく Go いって (Exception)
10. かえる Go Back かえって (Not Grp 2)
11. はいる Enter はいって (Not Grp 2)
12. はしる Run はしって (Not Grp 2)
13. のる Get On/Ride のって
14. わかる Understand わかって
15. おくる Send おくって
16. およぐ Swim およいで
17. あそぶ Play あそんで
18. かく Write かいて
19. だす Take Out/Submit だして
20. とる Take/Pick Up とって
21. ひく Pull/Play (Piano) ひいて
22. おろす Lower/Get Down おろして
23. はなす Speak/Talk はなして
24. まつ Wait まって
25. はじまる Begin/Start はじまって
26. おわる End/Finish おわって
27. おもう Think/Feel おもって
28. もらう Receive/Get もらって

Group 2 Verbs

dict-form Meaning te-form
1. いる Exist (Human/Animal) いて
2. たべる Eat たべて
3. みる See みて
4. あびる Bathe/Shower あびて
5. でる Appear/Leave でて
6. おりる Alight/Get Off おりて
7. みえる Be Seen/Seem/Appear みえて
8. きこえる Be Heard/Said to be きこえて
9. むかえる Welcome/Greet むかえて
10. ねる Go to Bed ねて
11. おきる Wake Up/Rise/Happen おきて
12. あげる Give/Offer/Raise あげて
13. くれる Be Given/Let One Have くれて

Group 3 Verbs

dict-form Meaning te-form
1. くる Come/Arrive きて
2. する Do/Execute/Play して
3. べんきょうする Study べんきょうして
4. さんぽする Walk/Stroll さんぽして

You can use te-form of Japanese verbs to make long sentences. For example, you can make one long sentence if you want to say all the things you are doing everyday...

  • あさおきて、はをみがいて、ごはんをたべて、シャワーをあびて、せいふくをきて、しんぶんをよんで、がっこうへいって、。。。て、。。。て。。。
    asa okite, ha wo migaite, gohan wo tabete, shawa- wo abite, seifuku wo kite, shinbun wo yonde, gakkou e itte, ...te, ...te, ...

    Meaning: I wake up in the morning, brush my teeth, eat cooked rice, take a shower, wear my uniform, read newspaper, go to school, ..., ..., ...

You can make a sentence using te-form just like the above example. It is also fine to make a sentence with only two actions with te-from, as long as the order of occurrence is followed as mentioned in the sentence.

Related Pages

Lesson 18: Verbs.

Lesson 19: Verbs Part 2 - Change dictionary-form to masu-form and nai-form.

Lesson 20: Verbs on give and receive.

Lesson 22: Verbs on Progress Action, Habitual Action & Occupation.

Lesson 23: Verbs of Motion & How to Make Request in Japanese.

Lesson 29: Verbs on State Continuation.

Lesson 30: Verbs - Transitive and Intransitive verbs.

Lesson 31: Verbs on State Continuation Transitive/Intransitive.

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