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~て form newbie question

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~て form newbie question

Postby Kyasurin-chan » Thu 11.26.2009 12:16 am

This happens to be the most stupid question I will ever have to ask, but what is the purpose of the ~て form? The sources I have looked at were pretty vague on its purpose. So really, what's the difference between たべる and たべて? Is it past form like でした?


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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby chikara » Thu 11.26.2009 12:31 am

TJPへようこそ!

読んください :)

From Tim Matheson's Japanese Verbs;

Te Form + kudasai

plus many other uses. Just click "Next" at the bottom of that and subsequent pages.

From Tae Kim's Grammar Guide;

Compound Sentences
Other uses of the te-form
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby magamo » Thu 11.26.2009 1:15 am

What do you mean by "purpose"? If you're talking about the functions of the word て, grammatically speaking, it works as a conjunction particle or final particle most of the time. If you meant the purposes of particles in general, usually conjunction particles are used to connect words in a sentence and work as grammatical marks. Final particles are usually put at the end of a sentence and add certain meanings and nuances.

If you're talking about the meanings of て, one of my J-J dictionaries lists 8 different meanings of て as a conjunction particle, 4 as a final particle, and one more special usage.

It seems some teachers and textbooks don't teach standard Japanese grammar and explains certain particles as verb conjunctions to foreigners. If you prefer this kind of simplified grammar rule, I think Tae Kim is a good free online textbook for solid explanations.

Here are a couple examples of たべて and explanations by standard grammar:

食べている。 (て here is a conjunction particle marking the verb, and the combination of て and いる indicates a verb aspect. In this case, it can be interpreted as a verb in the progressing tense, i.e., "eating.")
食べて! (て here is a final particle and forms a friendly request or command. This is softer than the usual imperative form 食べろ。)

I'm not familiar with simplified grammar, but I think Tae Kim's website gives plenty of examples and solid explanations.
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby Kyasurin-chan » Thu 11.26.2009 1:24 am

magamo wrote:食べて! (て here is a final particle and forms a friendly request or command. This is softer than the usual imperative form 食べろ。)


Oh, so it works as a command? That clears a lot up. Thanks! I just didn't know how 食べて or others verbs in this form worked in comparison to the う/る form. :mrgreen:
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby chikara » Thu 11.26.2009 1:48 am

Kyasurin-chan wrote:Oh, so it works as a command? That clears a lot up. Thanks! I just didn't know how 食べて or others verbs in this form worked in comparison to the う/る form. :mrgreen:

It can work as a command but it depends on what comes after it. .... 食べている is not a command.
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby furrykef » Fri 11.27.2009 5:36 am

This is kind of like asking what the "-ing" form does in an English verb. It looks simple, but in reality it has several functions:

Running is my favorite hobby. -- Here, the -ing turns the verb 'run' into a noun.
I am running. -- Here, the -ing combines with "be" ("am") to denote the progressive aspect
The running man -- Here it turns the verb 'run' into an adjective.
While running to the store, I saw a rabbit. -- Here it's part of an adverbial phrase.

So it's not really that English "-ing" has a particular meaning on its own, but rather that the way it's used gives it meaning.

(Note that Japanese て isn't the same as English "-ing"; I'm just using an analogy to make a point.)

In Japanese, the て form is actually a lot more flexible than English "-ing". It does happen to correspond to "-ing" sometimes, as in 走っている = is running. But it can also form commands with ください, it can link sentences together into a single sentence (食べて、帰りました = I ate and went home; the て is the 'and'), it can be used with もいい to ask for permission (食べてもいいですか = May I eat it?), it can take all sorts of suffixes to give the verb a different shade of meaning (食べてしまった = "I ate it completely", or even "I ate it, unfortunately")... in short, it's all about how it's used in the sentence.

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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby magamo » Fri 11.27.2009 6:50 am

furrykef wrote:In Japanese, the て form is actually a lot more flexible than English "-ing".

Hmm. The Japanese て may be more flexible, but I'm not sure if it's "a lot" more flexible. For example, you said
furrykef wrote:Running is my favorite hobby. -- Here, the -ing turns the verb 'run' into a noun.

But is it a noun the same way as, say, "being" as in "human being"? It's sooo noun that you can pluralize it and say "human beings." I agree that "running" works like a noun, but I also think it's still verb-ish in meaning.

Also, "running" can be used like "gun-running," "drug-running." I guess this isn't the same noun usage as "running" in your example.

It seems there are a lot more usages when it comes to -ing. For example, "charming" is an adjective that is apparently derived from the verb "charm," but I think it's more adjective-ish than running in your example. A running man is a guy who is running. The latter "running" is clearly progressive, right? Now "A charming girl" is a girl who is charming. But I don't think the latter "charming" is in the progressive tense. It's still an adjective.

There are another kind of adjective usage. It's clear that "sleeping"s in "sleeping man" and "sleeping car" are both adjective, but they're quite different because the car isn't sleeping. In this sense, it's not the same kind of adjective as "charming" either.

I only gave specific examples, but I vaguely remember I learned English grammar rules that governs these kinds of thing at school.

Certainly the Japanese て has a plethora of usages and meanings, but even a non-native speaker of English can easily come up with lots of usages of -ing. If you try to list all the usages of -ing in English, maybe you can write a book. I think you can write a tome about て as well, but I don't know if it'd be a much heaver book than "All about English -ing."

One thing I am certain is that both are too long to read through.
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby Sairana » Fri 11.27.2009 12:06 pm

magamo wrote:A running man is a guy who is running. The latter "running" is clearly progressive, right?


No, it's not progressive; it's the participle and still an adjective.

It's clear that "sleeping"s in "sleeping man" and "sleeping car" are both adjective, but they're quite different because the car isn't sleeping.

I've never heard of anyone refer to a "sleeping car", but if they did, then "sleeping" would be an adjective (participle), and not different from "sleeping man".
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 11.27.2009 12:52 pm

I don't think "running" there is an adjective -- you can't say "very running", "more running", "seems running", "How running is he?", "un-running", or "a running, old friend".
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby magamo » Fri 11.27.2009 4:37 pm

Sairana wrote:
magamo wrote:A running man is a guy who is running. The latter "running" is clearly progressive, right?


No, it's not progressive; it's the participle and still an adjective.

It seems to me that "running" in "The man is running" is the same as the one in "The man who is running is my son." It's like "doing"s in "The man is doing this" and "The man who is doing this is my son" are the same. Is the latter "doing" adjective? If so, "this" is the object of an adjective??

If you still insist it's an adjective, what about this:

I don't like the man who is running the show.

Is this "running" an adjective? Which verb is taking "the show" as its object then?

Sairana wrote:
It's clear that "sleeping"s in "sleeping man" and "sleeping car" are both adjective, but they're quite different because the car isn't sleeping.

I've never heard of anyone refer to a "sleeping car", but if they did, then "sleeping" would be an adjective (participle), and not different from "sleeping man".

If you don't know what a sleeping car is, here's the Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_car

Anyway, here is a similar kind of -ing: Your "dancing shoes" are not dancing unless you're living in a fantasy world. But dancing girls are always dancing. Are "dancing"s in "dancing shoes" and "dancing girls" grammatically the same? I don't think so. Of course, if you're a dance club owner and call your dancers "dancing girls," I think it can be seen as the same "dancing" as "dancing shoes" in the sense that it means "girls for dancing." But sleeping men are not men for sleeping.

Also, my boxing shoes are not punching each other. But after the referee's "Box!!", you can knock out the opponent. Sleeping men are guys who are sleeping, so I think there is a clear difference.
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby Sairana » Sat 11.28.2009 12:37 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I don't think "running" there is an adjective -- you can't say "very running", "more running", "seems running", "How running is he?", "un-running", or "a running, old friend".


Participle: a verb form acting as an adjective. The running dog chased the fluttering moth. A present participle (like running or fluttering) describes a present condition; a past participle describes something that has happened: "The completely rotted tooth finally fell out of his mouth." The distinction can be important to the meaning of a sentence; there is a huge difference between a confusing student and a confused student.

*Adjectives that are really Participles, verb forms with -ing and -ed endings, can be troublesome for some students. It is one thing to be a frightened child; it is an altogether different matter to be a frightening child. Do you want to go up to your professor after class and say that you are confused or that you are confusing? Generally, the -ed ending means that the noun so described ("you") has a passive relationship with something — something (the subject matter, the presentation) has bewildered you and you are confused. The -ing ending means that the noun described has a more active role — you are not making any sense so you are confusing (to others, including your professor).

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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 11.28.2009 1:14 am

They are verb forms used to modify nouns, but they are clearly not in the same word class as things like "red" or "pretty". Adjectives aren't just anything that modifies a noun.
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby furrykef » Sat 11.28.2009 3:10 am

Well, "functioning as an adjective" and "is an adjective" aren't the same thing (though out of convenience we might say the latter to mean the former).
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby Sairana » Sat 11.28.2009 4:41 pm

'running' in "The running man." is functioning as an adjective, it is a participle, as I already said. It is -not- the progressive, as claimed by Megamo.

The rewritten version, "The man who is running," also is not using the progressive aspect of ~ing. It's part of the subject complement.

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Adjectives aren't just anything that modifies a noun.


We're in disagreement, then. In English, if it is in the appropriate place for an adjective (immediately preceding a noun) and is functionally modifying the noun, it is an adjective, regardless of other determiners used to identify an adjective.
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Re: ~て form newbie question

Postby magamo » Sat 11.28.2009 6:34 pm

Sairana wrote:'running' in "The running man." is functioning as an adjective, it is a participle, as I already said. It is -not- the progressive, as claimed by Megamo.

The rewritten version, "The man who is running," also is not using the progressive aspect of ~ing. It's part of the subject complement.

You say "running" in "the man who is running" isn't progressive. But isn't it just an intransitive verb in the progressing tense? As I said in my last post, it's clearly a verb in the progressing tense when "run" is a transitive verb: The man who is running the show. I'm guessing you're confused because "running" is used as an intransitive verb in his example.
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