■ The て form of verbs and adjectives has many usages. It is used for simple commands (do something), linking sentences as a conjunction (and), and to show an action that is currently occurring (present participle -ing).
How to Use:
Before we look at usage, let's first go over the verb and adjective forms separated by affirmative and negative tenses.
■ Affirmative Verbs Form: Add て to the simple past tense of the verb. This form is surprisingly regular. Simply change the た ending to て and だ ending to で.
食べて please eat
読んだ read (simple past)
change the だ to で
読んで please read
■ Negative Verb Form: Addで to the simple negative form.
食べない to not eat
食べないで Don't eat.
読まない to not read
読まないで Don't eat.
■ Affirmative Adjective Form: For i-adjectives, change the い into くて. For -na adjectives, simply add で .
高い becomes 高くて
有名 becomes 有名で
■ Negative Adjective Form: For i-adjectives, change the ない into なくて. For -na adjectives, you change the auxiliary verb after the adjective.
not high; not expensive:
高くない becomes 高くなくて
有名ではない becomes 有名ではなくて
■ Simple Commands: Use the て form as a way to utter a command. If this is too direct, add ください to make it more polite.
ケーキを食べてください。 Please eat the cake.
スーパーに行って。 Go to the supermarket.
And here are examples of how to command someone to not do something:
ケーキを食べないでください。 Please do not eat the cake.
スーパーに行かないで。 Don't go to the supermarket.
■ Linking Sentences (conjunction): It can also be used as a conjunction "and" or "and then…"
I went to the movies and met a friend.
I could have written that as two sentences:
私は、映画館に行きました。友達と会いました。But combining them with the て form sounds more natural.
I returned home and drank a beer.
[home | returning | beer | drank]
And here are two more examples using the negative form:
I went to bed without eating supper.
[supper | not eating | slept]
The tickets are not expensive and easy to buy.
[ticket | not expensive and | easy to buy]
■ Present Participle—Action is Currently Occurring: This is the -ing form. This is used with いる or the more polite version います (to be) after the -て form to indicate continuing action. What are you doing now?
Now, (I) am studying Japanese.
[しています is the て form of する (to do) and
いる (to exist; to continue)]
まだ (not yet) is often used with the negative:
The mail hasn't arrived yet.
[as of yet | mail | not arrived]