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Japanese Verbs – て (te) form

A verb in the て-form (te-form) ends in て or で and is used for making requests, connecting verbs together, and many other useful constructions.  We saved this special verb conjugation for last, because on its own it really does not have a tense (present, past).  In fact, it’s impossible to define exactly what the “te-form” does with one swift explanation because, well, it’s so damn versatile.  All we can do is to study it’s most common uses:

The て (te) form + いる (iru) is used to express ongoing actions.

We use ~ている (~te iru) to express a continuous action.  An example of this concept in English would be “I am running”.  Here’s an example in Japanese:


Keiko wa sushi o tabeteiru.

Keiko is eating sushi.

In Japanese, we also use this same form to describe habitual actions:


mainichi sushi o tabete iru.

I eat sushi every day.

The て (te) form + ください (kudasai) is used to make a request.

 As we explained in this lesson, ~てください (~te kudasai) is used for requesting something and is similar to “please”.  The te-form of the verb comes first, followed by ください.


koko ni suwatte kudasai.

Sit here, please.

て (te) form + もいいですか (mo ii desu ka) is used to ask permission.

In this lesson, we showed you how to ask for permission with ~てもいいですか (~te mo ii desu ka).


Telebi wo mite mo ii desu ka

(Can I watch television?)

Drop the か (ka), and it becomes the perfect response:

Hai.  Telebi wo mite mo ii desu.

(Yes.  You may watch television.)

How to find the te-form of a verb.

If the plain form of a verb ends with an iru/eru sound, drop the ru and add て.





akeru akete


If  the plain form of a verb ends with a sound other than iru and eru, use the following chart:

ku changes to ite   su changes to shite
aruku aruite kesu  keshite
tsu changes to tte nu changes to nde 
tatsu tatte shinu shinde
mu changes to nde au changes to atte
nomu nonde arau aratta


We also have some irregular verbs to remember because they like to do their own thing:

suru (do) is shite.

kuru (come) is kite.

iku (go) is itte.

kaeru (returned) is kaette

hashiru (ran) is hashitta

kiru (cut) is kitte.

hairu (entered) is haitte.


I’ll add more to this section later!  In the meantime, you can practice the flashcards for te-form verbs:

[qdeck align=”center”; border: 4px solid #000080;” random=”false”] [h] Verb Flashcards – TE form[q] あく – te-form[a]あいて(aite)

(something) opens
[q] あるく – te-form[a]あるいて(aruite)

to walk
[q] いく – te-form[a]いって(itte)

to go
[q] おく – te-form[a]おいて(oite)

to put
[q] かく – te-form[a]かいて(kaite)

to write / draw
[q] きく – te-form[a]きいて(kiite)

to listen / hear / ask
[q] さく – te-form[a]さいて(saite)

to bloom / flower
[q] つく – te-form[a]ついて(tsuite)

to arrive
[q] なく – te-form[a]ないて(naite)

to bark / mew / cry
[q] はく – te-form[a]はいて(haite)

to put on shoes or pants / to sweep
[q] はたらく – te-form[a]はたらいて(hataraite)

to work
[q] ひく – te-form[a]ひいて(hiite)

to pull something / to play an instrument
[q] ふく – te-form[a]ふいて(fuite)

to blow
[q] みがく – te-form[a]みがいて(migaite)

to polish / brush
[q] およぐ – te-form[a]およいで(oyoide)

to swim
[q] ぬぐ – te-form[a]ぬいで(nuide)

to take off / undress
[q] おす – te-form[a]おして(oshite)

to push
[q] かえす – te-form[a]かえして(kaeshite)

to return (something)
[q] かす – te-form[a]かして(kashite)

to lend
[q] けす – te-form[a]けして(keshite)

to turn off / put out
[q] さす – te-form[a]さして(sashite)

to put (up an umbrella) / to point out
[q] だす – te-form[a]だして(dashite)

to extract / take out
[q] なくす – te-form[a]なくして(nakushite)

to lose (something)
[q] はなす – te-form[a]はなして(hanashite)

to speak/talk/tell
[q] わたす – te-form[a]わたして(watashite)

to hand over
[q] しぬ – te-form[a]しんで(shinde)

to die
[q] あそぶ – te-form[a]あそんで(asonde)

to play
[q] よぶ – te-form[a]よんで(yonde)

to call/invite
[q] すむ – te-form[a]すんで(sunde)

to live/reside (in)
[q] たのむ – te-form[a]たのんで(tanonde)

to ask (a favor)
[q] のむ – te-form[a]のんで(nonde)

to drink
[q] やすむ – te-form[a]やすんで(yasunde)

to take a rest / be absent
[q] よむ – te-form[a]よんで(yonde)

to read
[q] あう – te-form[a]あって(atte)

to meet / to fit
[q] あらう – te-form[a]あらって(aratte)

to wash
[q] いう – te-form[a]いって(itte)

to say/speak/tell/talk
[q] うたう – te-form[a]うたって(utatte)

to sing
[q] かう – te-form[a]かって(katte)

to buy
[q] すう – te-form[a]すって(sutte)

to inhale/smoke
[q] ちがう – te-form[a]ちがって(chigatte)

to be different / wrong
[q] つかう – te-form[a]つかって(tsukatte)

to use
[q] ならう – te-form[a]ならって(naratte)

to learn
[q] たつ – te-form[a]たって(tatte)

to stand up
[q] まつ – te-form[a]まって(matte)

to wait
[q] もつ – te-form[a]もって(motte)

to have / hold
[q] ある – te-form[a]あって(atte)

to be (inanimate) / have
[q] うる – te-form[a]うって(utte)

to sell
[q] おわる – te-form[a]おわって(owatte)

to finish
[q] かえる – te-form[a]かえって(kaette)

to return / go home
[q] かかる – te-form[a]かかって(kakatte)

to take (time / money)
[q] かぶる – te-form[a]かぶって(kabutte)

to put on (a hat)
[q] ~がる – te-form[a]がって(gatte)

(somebody) wants to
[q] きる – te-form[a]きって(kitte)

to wear / to cut
[q] こまる – te-form[a]こまる(komatte)

to be in trouble
[q] しまる – te-form[a]しまる(shimatte)

(something) closes
[q] しる – te-form[a]しる(shitte)

to know
[q] すわる – te-form[a]すわる(suwatte)

to sit down
[q] つくる – te-form[a]つくる(tsukutte)

to make / form / cook
[q] とまる – te-form[a]とまる(tomatte)

(something) stops
[q] とる – te-form[a]とる(totte)

to take
[q] なる – te-form[a]なって(natte)

to become
[q] のぼる – te-form[a]のぼって(nobotte)

to climb
[q] のる – te-form[a]のって(notte)

to get on
[q] はいる – te-form[a]はいって(haitte)

to enter
[q] はしる – te-form[a]はしって(hashitte)

to run
[q] はじまる – te-form[a]はじまって(hajimatte)

(something) starts
[q] はる – te-form[a]はって(hatte)

to put / stick
[q] ふる – te-form[a]ふって(futte)

to fall (rain / snow)
[q] まがる – te-form[a]まがって(magatte)

to turn
[q] やる – te-form[a]やって(yatte)

to do
[q] わかる – te-form[a]わかって(wakatte)

to understand
[q] わたる – te-form[a]わたって(watatte)

to cross
[q] あける – te-form[a]あけて(akete)

(somebody) opens
[q] あげる – te-form[a]あげて(agete)

to give
[q] いれる – te-form[a]いれて(irete)

to put in
[q] うまれる – te-form[a]うまれて(umarete)

to be born
[q] おしえる – te-form[a]おしえて(oshiete)

to tell / teach
[q] おぼえる – te-form[a]おぼえて(oboete)

to memorize
[q] かける – te-form[a]かけて(kakete)

to make a phone call / hang
[q] かける – te-form[a]かけて(kakete)

to put on glasses
[q] きえる – te-form[a]きえて(kiete)

to disappear
[q] こたえる – te-form[a]こたえて(kotaete)

to answer / reply
[q] しめる – te-form[a]しめて(shimete)

(somebody) closes
[q] たべる – te-form[a]たべて(tabete)

to eat
[q] つかれる – te-form[a]つかれて(tsukarete)

to get tired
[q] つける – te-form[a]つけて(tsukete)

to turn on / light
[q] つとめる – te-form[a]つとめて(tsutomete)

to work for
[q] でる – te-form[a]でて(dete)

to leave / attend
[q] ならべる – te-form[a]ならべて(narabete)

to line (things) up
[q] はれる – te-form[a]はれて(harete)

to clear up
[q] みせる – te-form[a]みせて(misete)

to show
[q] わすれる – te-form[a]わすれて(wasurete)

to forget
[q] あびる – te-form[a]あびて(abite)

to take (a shower)
[q] いる – te-form[a]いて(ite)

(for people) to exist / stay
[q] おきる – te-form[a]おきて(okite)

to get up
[q] おりる – te-form[a]おりて(orite)

to get off
[q] かりる – te-form[a]かりて(karite)

to borrow / rent
[q] きる – te-form[a]きて(kite)

to wear
[q] できる – te-form[a]できて(dekite)

can (do) / be ready
[q] みる – te-form[a]みて(mite)

to see / watch / look
[q] かいぎ(を)する – te-form[a]かいご(を)して(kaigo o shite)

to hold a meeting
[q] かいもの(を)する – te-form[a]かいもの(を)して(kaimono o shite)

to go shopping
[q] けっこん(を)する – te-form[a]けっこん(を)して(kekkon o shite)

to get married
[q] コピー(を)する – te-form[a]こぴい(を)して(copii o shite)

to make a copy
[q] さんぽ(を)する – te-form[a]さんぽ(を)して(sanpo o shite)

to take a walk
[q] しごと(を)する – te-form[a]しごと(を)して(shigoto o shite)

to work
[q] しつもん(を)する – te-form[a]しつもん(を)して(shitsumon o shite)

to ask somebody a question
[q] する – te-form[a]して(shite)

to do
[q] しゅくだい(を)する – te-form[a]しゅくだい(を)して(shukudai o shite)

to do homework
[q] せんたく(を)する – te-form[a]せんたく(を)して(sentaku o shite)

to do laundry
[q] そうじ(を)する – te-form[a]そうじ(を)して(souji o shite)

to clean
[q] でんわ(を)する – te-form[a]でんわ(を)して(denwa o shite)

to make a phone call
[q] はなし(を)する – te-form[a]はなし(を)して(hanashi o shite)

to have a talk
[q] パーティー(を)する – te-form[a]ぱーてぃー(を)する(paatii o shite)

to have a party
[q] べんきょう(を)する – te-form[a]べんきょう(を)して(benkyou o shite)

to study
[q] りょうり(を)する – te-form[a]りょうり(を)して(ryouri o shite)

to cook
[q] りょこう(を)する – te-form[a]ろよこう(を)して(ryokou o shite)

to take a trip
[q] れんしゅう(を)する – te-form[a]れんしゅう(を)して(renshuu o shite)

to practice
[q] くる – te-form[a]きて(kite)

to come
Casual Form, Past Tense
Negative Casual Form, All tenses  Japanese Verbs Index