Lesson 25: TE Form

This lesson will discuss a new form of verb conjugation. This form is called “て form” and it is used when you want to ask for or give permission, ask someone to do something, and when you want to put two verbs in a sentence together.

This form is really important to the Japanese language, so you must understand it very clearly! It may take you a while to get used to this new form, but after studying the information presented in this lesson a few times, you should have a good understanding of what て form is and how to get it.

Conjugating Form

て form is rather a complicated form of conjugation. There are several different rules and a few exceptions that you must learn. First, we will learn how to conjugate る verbs into て form. Then we will move on to the different rules for う verbs. Finally we will look at the rules for irregular verbs and exceptions.


The rule for conjugating る verbs is the simplest rule of them all. For these verbs, you must start with the dictionary form of the verb. For example, use みる, the dictionary form of みます which means “to see/to watch.”

Take みる and remove the る. Replace the る with て. You are left with みて. This rule applies the same for all る verbs.

たべる would become たべて in て form, and so on.


う verbs are a bit more complicated than る verbs. Remember that う verbs do not have to end in う. They can also end in つ, る, む, ふ, ぬ, く, ぐ, and す.

For う verbs that end in う, つ, and る, remove the final syllable and replace it with って. For example, あう becomes あって. This is the same for verbs that end in つ and る. You must remove theつ and る and replace it with って.

For う verbs that end in む, ふ, or ぬ, you must remove the final syllable and replace it with んで. For example, よむ, becomes よんで. You just remove む and replace it with んで. The same applies for the verbs that end in ふ and ぬ. ふ and ぬ are removed and んで is added.

For verbs that end in く, you should drop the final く and add いて. There is an exception to this rule, and it is the verb いく. For いく, you drop the く and add って. Be sure to remember this!

Similarly, with verbs that end in ぐ, you drop the final ぐ and add いで.

If the う verb ends in す, you drop the final す and add して. An example is はなす, which becomes はなして.

Irregular Verbs

For the two irregular verbs, する and くる, you must memorize the て forms. する becomes して and くる becomes きて.

Form Uses

て form is commonly used to ask someone to do something for you. It is also commonly used to ask or give permission.

In order to make a request, you must use the てください form. This means you take the てform of whatever verb is relevant to what you are asking and add ください to it. This will have the effect of politely asking the person to do something for you.

For example, if you want to ask someone to watch something, you can say みてください. If you want to add the subject and subject particle to the sentence, that is acceptable too. For example, you could ask someone to watch a specific movie. You could say えいがをみてください.

To use the て form to ask or give permission, you need the てもいいですand てはいけません. If asking for permission, you would add か to てもいいです.

For example, if you want to ask someone if you can watch a movie that belongs to him or her, you can say えいがをみてもいいですか. If the person is okay with you watching the movie, he or she can say みてもいいですよ. Theよ is optional. If the person does not want you to watch the movie, he or she could say みてはいけません.

Another way you can use て form is to link two activities together in a sentence. For example, if you want to say “I will listen to music and watch a movie,” you would say わたしはおんがくをきいて、えいがをみます. Notice how the first verb in the sentence is in て form and the second verb is in the regular present tense ます form. You can do this with any verb.

Read through this lesson a few times to ensure you understand て form and how to conjugate. Once you have memorized the forms and feel comfortable, proceed to the exercises below.

Practice I

Write five sentences that use two verbs. Remember when and how to use the TE form to link them together.

Practice II

Write theて form of the following verbs.

  1. する
  2. たべる
  3. あう
  4. かく
  5. よむ

Answer Key

Practice II

  1. して
  2. たべて
  3. あって
  4. かいて
  5. よんで


3 thoughts on “Lesson 25: TE Form”

  1. Arigatou gozaimasu! (Microsoft IME is failing me again. -___-) ^_^ Thank you very much for this. :3 It really helps me with my language learning.

    I wonder… what’s the easiest way of memorizing these verb forms? They’re driving me crazy. T____T Thanks again!

    1. Great! I’m glad you find the lessons enjoyable.

      Unfortunately, sheer memorization is the only way to really learn these verbs. I recommend learning them by patterns (meaning there is a pattern for RU verbs and a few patterns for U verbs). Then when you come across a verb and know that it is a RU or U verb, you will be able to apply the pattern. The irregular verbs just have to be memorized on their own since there is no pattern.

      I also recommend keeping a list of all of the verbs you encounter. Write them down in dictionary form and make a note of whether or not they are RU or U verbs. Then you can study your list to remember which verbs are classified as what. Also, make flashcards of the verbs in dictionary form and their English translations, plus whether they are irregular, RU, or U verbs. Then you can go through the flashcards until you have it memorized. You can also do this for conjugations like masu/masen and te form.

      You can also get this book called The Complete Japanese Verb Guide. I own this book myself (and one for Korean), and I must say, they are very helpful! When you want to learn new verbs, or come across one you don’t know, you can find them and ALL of their conjugations in these books. Here is a link to the book http://www.amazon.com/The-Complete-Japanese-Verb-Guide/dp/0804834245/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3

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