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See also: , , ح, ج, خ, and Շ

U+3066, て



Stroke order
1 stroke

Etymology 1[edit]

Derived in the Heian period from writing the man'yōgana kanji in the cursive sōsho style.




  1. The hiragana syllable (te). Its equivalent in katakana is (te). It is the nineteenth syllable in the gojūon order; its position is (ta-gyō e-dan, row ta, section e).
Derived terms[edit]
See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From the ren'yōkei of the classical auxiliary verb (tsu).

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (allomorph used with -gu/-bu/-mu/-nu (voiced ending) godan verbs) (de)




  1. the conjunctive ending, attaching to the ren'yōkei of verbs and adjectives.
    1. simply indicates separate actions or states that occur simultaneously; and
      ōkikute amai ringo
      a big, sweet apple
      Ane ga piano o hiite imōto ga uta o utau.
      The elder sister plays piano and the younger sister sings songs.
    2. indicates actions or states that occur successively; do something and
      Ie ni kaette, terebi o mita.
      I went back home and watched TV.
    3. indicates reason or cause; because doing something
      Kaze o hiite, gakkō o yasunda.
      I didn't go to school because I caught a cold.
    4. used as a contrastive conjunction; do something but
      ()()ぬふりmite minu furisaw but pretended not to see → turn a blind eye
      shitte ite oshienai
      to know something but not to tell it
    5. indicates method or state
      Yorokonde ichinichi o sugoshita.
      I spent the day being happy.
    6. followed by hojodōshi (subsidiary verbs, corresponding to auxiliary verbs in western languages) such as いる (iru), ある (aru), やる (yaru), くれる (kureru), あげる (ageru), もらう (morau), おく (oku), くる (kuru), いく (iku), etc., to make their complement
      Nihongo o benkyō shite iru.
      I'm learning Japanese.
      Tsukue no ue ni oite aru.
      It's put on the desk.
    7. used in the form …て…て (… te … te) to show emphasis or repetition
    8. ては (-te wa) and ても (-te mo) make conditional clauses
  2. (women's speech) used in sentence-final position, an extension of the conjunctive particle above and simply omitting any following words; usually takes the form って when attaching to adjectives
    1. used to seek opinion or ask a question
      Mō goran ni natte?
      Have you seen it?
      Is it OK?
    2. short for ください (-te kudasai) or くれ (-te kure): makes a light command or request, usually followed by (yo) or (ne)
      chotto matte
      Wait a minute.
      itsuka, watashi o tasukete ne
      Help me someday, okay?
    3. short for いる (-te iru)
      1. indicates the speaker's opinion or judgment; usually followed by (yo)
      O-tegami chōdai ne. Matte te yo
      Please send me a letter. I'll be waiting.
Usage notes[edit]
  • In Standard Japanese the -te form of 行く (iku, to go) is 行って (itte).
  • The Kansai forms are also literary. In Standard Japanese they are mandatory for the two verbs 問う (tou, to ask) and 請う (kou, to beg).
  • When the (te) indicates method or state, ない (nai) + (te) becomes ないで (naide) instead of the regular なくて (nakute):
    (はん)()ないで()gohan o tabenaide detaI went out without eating.
  • In formal writing, (te) is not used when simply indicating a series of actions or states. Instead, the ren'yōkei is used for all but the last action or state, and いる (iru) (which becomes (i)) is replaced by おり (ori).
    (あね)がピアノを()き、(いもうと)(うた)(うた)う。ane ga piano o hiki, imōto ga uta o utau.(formal) The elder sister plays piano and the younger sister sings songs.
  • As both the ren'yōkei form and the (te)/ (de) form connect clauses together, they are usually interchangeable. They each serve specific grammatical purposes as follows:
    • When two verbs are closely related in context, (te) must be used.
      デパートへ()って()(もの)をするdepāto e itte,kaimono o suruI'll go to the department store and do some shopping.
    • When two verbs are both controllable in nature, (te) must be used.
      友達(ともだち)()って(やす)みのことを(たず)ねるtomodachi ni atte, yasumi no koto o tazuneruI'll meet my friend and ask about their holiday.
    • When two verbs are both uncontrollable in nature, (te) must be used.
      ()(しん)()(めん)がすごく()れて()てなかったjishin de jimen ga sugoku yurete,tatenakattaThe ground shook so much in the earthquake that I couldn't stand up.


  • This word is classified as 助詞 (joshi, auxiliary word; particle) in traditional Japanese grammar. In modern linguistics, it is an inflectional suffix, and “ren'yōkei + (te)” is usually called the gerund, a term used for subordinate adverbial verb forms in the description of many languages such as Dutch, Italian and Russian. For Japanese this nomenclature is found first in the works of Portuguese missionaries such as the Arte da Lingoa de Iapam[3] and continues to be used to this day. In Japanese materials adopting the modern linguistic analysis, this form is simply called the テ形 (-te kei, -te form).

Etymology 3[edit]




  1. alternative form of the quotative particle って (tte), used after (n)
    Koma-chan te iu na――!!
    Don't call me Koma-chan!

Etymology 4[edit]

For pronunciation and definitions of – see the following entry.
[noun] a hand
[noun] a handle, grip
[noun] a paw, foreleg
[noun] a way of acting, means
[noun] (board games) a move, play
[prefix] strengthens the prefixed adjective or adjectival noun
[suffix] one who does the previous word's action: -ist, -er
[suffix] (board games) counter for moves in shogi, go, etc.
(This term, , is the hiragana spelling of the above term.)
For a list of all kanji read as , see Category:Japanese kanji read as て.)


  1. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (January 1, 1989), “Main Entries: -te て”, in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, 1st edition, 5-4, Shibaura 4-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023, Japan: The Japan Times, →ISBN, pages 464–467
  2. ^ Makino, Seiichi; Tsutsui, Michio (January 1, 1995), “Main Entries: Vmasu”, in A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar, 1st edition, 5-4, Shibaura 4-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023, Japan: The Japan Times, →ISBN, pages 556-560
  3. ^ Frellesvig, Bjarke (2010) A History of the Japanese Language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 57