How to use ては / では ( = tewa / dewa)

Pinkie :ふぁ〜 = Fahh… (Yawning sound)

「毎日、遊んでは寝て、遊んでは寝て…もう最高!」

= Mainichi, asonde wa nete, asonde wa nete…mou saikou! 

= I spend every day playing and sleeping and playing again and going back to sleep. What a life! 

 

Cookie「もう少し、日本語の勉強、がんばらなくてはいけませんよ。」

= Mousukoshi, nihongo no benkyou, ganbaranakute wa ikemasen yo.

= You have to try a little harder to study Japanese, OK?

 

Hi everyone!

It has been a long time. 

We have our guest teachers, Pinkie Sensei and Cookie Sensei, from France today.

*****

Bonjour! We are Pinkie and Cookie. 

We are going to teach you how to use ては ( = tewa) today.  One of Maggie Sensei’s Twitter followers told her that he can’t find a lesson anywhere on the Internet.

Let’s see if we can fix that!  :-P 

1)  describing  some repetitive situations/actions.

* When you do two or more actions (they could be unrelated or opposite actions) repeatedly or describe some situations which happen repeatedly

★How to form:

verb te-form V ( = te) +  ( = wa) +  verb masu-stem

( + verb te-form V ( = te)  +  ( = wa) + verb masu-stem / dictionary form)

For example, when you turn on the TV and turn it off, you say:

 :rrrr: テレビをつける = terebi wo tsukeru = turn on the TV

 :rrrr: テレビを消す = terebi wo kesu = turn off the TV.

 :rrrr: テレビをつけ消す

= terebi wo tsukete kesu. 

= turn the TV on and off.

But if you keep turning the TV on and off repeatedly, you would say: 

 :rrrr: テレビをつけては消し、つけては消し…(continue the sentence)

= terebi wo tsukete wa keshi, tsukete wa keshi…

or 

 :rrrr: テレビをつけては消す

= Terebi wo tsukete wa kesu.

 !MEMO! Structure:

1. You change the first verb to te-form and add  ( = wa) 

つける ( = tsukeru ) →つけ ( = tsukete) +  ( = wa) 

つけては ( = tsukete wa) 

2. The second verb can be

(1) use the dictionary form 消す ( = kesu) 

つけては消す = tsukete wa kesu

or

(2) use the masu-stem  消し( = keshi) 

つけては消し  = tsukete wa keshi

depending on the sentence / what to modify / context / writer’s style.

Ex. テレビをつけては消し…(continue the sentence) 

= terebi wo tsuketewa keshi

=  turn on and off the TV repeatedly

3. You sometimes repeat the same sentence twice to emphasize the repetitions.

テレビをつけては消し、つけては消し(continue the sentence) 

= terebi wo tsukete wa keshi, tsukete wa keshi 

It is similar to たり( = tari) and a lot of times, you can rephrase it with たり ( = tari) 

 :rrrr: テレビをつけたり消したり (continue the sentence) 

= terebi wo tsuke tari keshi tari 

Click here to check out my lesson on たり ( = tari) 

In that lesson, you’ll see the phrase:

*「休日は、食べたりたりして過ごしています。」

= Kyuujitsu wa, tabe tari ne tari shite sugoshite imasu.

= I spend my days off eating, sleeping, etc.

While たり ( = tari) gives some examples what you do on your days off, eating, sleeping and etc.

ては ( = tewa) stresses one’s repetitive actions/situations. 

When you describe your on-going life as nothing but eating and sleeping, 

Ex. 食べては寝て食べては寝ての生活

= tabete wa nete tabete wa nete no seikatsu.

= the life nothing but eating and sleeping.

*You can just say   ( = ne) instead of  寝て( = nete) 

or just say it once.

(with te-form)

→ 食べては寝ての生活

= Tabete wa nete no seikatsu.

(with a dictionary form) 

→ 食べては寝る生活

= Tabete wa neru seikatsu.

(with masu-stem)

→ 食べては寝の生活

= Tabete wa ne no seikatsu

Note: In conversation, you say 

Ex. 食っちゃ寝、食っちゃ寝の生活

= Kuccha ne, kuccha ne no seikatsu

Ex.食っちゃ寝の生活

= Kuccha ne no seikatsu

Note: 

1) Casual contraction:

*ては ( = tewa) →ちゃ ( = cha) /  では ( = dewa) → じゃ ( = ja) 

2) 食う ( = kuu) is a male speech of 食べる ( = taberu), to eat .

Though it is considered to be rough, you often hear it  colloquial conversation.

Ex. 雨が降ってはやんで (降ってはやんで)の日が続いている。

= Ame ga futte wa yande (futte wa yande) no hi ga tsuzuite iru.

= It has been raining on and off everyday. 

(* You can rephrase it with  たり ( = tari) 降ったりやんだり ( = futtari yandari) )

Ex. 私達はくっついては別れ (くっついては別れて)の繰り返しだ。

= Watashitachi wa kuttsuite wa wakare (kuttsuite wa wakarete ) no kurikaeshi da.

= We get together (or date) and break up repeatedly. 

The order is different in this translation but it basically means

We always breaking up and getting back together again/Our relationship is always on and off.

Ex. 彼への気持ちを書いては消し、(書いては消し..) 結局、メールを出さなかった。

=  Kare e no kimochi wo kaite wa keshi, (kaite wa keshi) , kekkyoku, meeru wo dasanakatta.

= I wrote my feelings towards him and then erased it and wrote again and erased again….I ended up not sending him an email.

Ex. 波が、寄せては返す。

= Nami ga, yosete wa kaesu.

= the waves come and go. (repeatedly)

2) Whenever something happens / someone does something ~  (repeated situation/ habitual situation)

★ How to form:

Verb te-form  V ( = te)  +  ( = wa) 

Note: In this usage, you don’t repeat ては ( = tewa) twice.

If, for example, a baby saw my face and smiled and it just happened once, you say: 

Ex. 赤ちゃんは私の顔を見笑った。

= Akachan wa watashi no kao wo mite waratta.

= The baby smiled when she / he sees my face.

If the baby looked at my face and smiled and looked at my face and smiled…and it went on and on, you use ては ( = tewa) 

Ex. 赤ちゃんは私の顔を見ては笑っていた。

= Akachan wa watashi no kao wo mite wa waratte ita.

= All the baby does is to look at my face and smile. 

Ex. 子犬は、ボールを口にくわえて持ってきては遊んでくれとせがむ。

= Koinu wa, booru wo kuchi ni kuwaete motte kite wa asonde kureto segamu.

= The puppy keeps coming to me with a ball in his/her mouth and begging me to play with him/her.

Ex.  妻にお小遣いを増やしてと頼んでは怒られています。*

= Tsuma ni okozukai wo fuyashiteto tanonde wa okorarete imasu.

= Whenever I ask my wife to increase my allowance, she gets mad at me.

Note: 

1) * 怒られる ( = okorareru ) is a passive form but it will be more natural to translate it this way in English.

2) This is something cultural. In many if not most Japanese homes, wives control 家計 ( = kakei), the household finances which means many husbands hand over their entire salary to their wives, and their wives in tureen give them an allowance of pocket money for the month.

Ex. 彼は日本に来ては、お土産でスーツケースをいっぱいにして国に帰る。

= Kare wa nihon ni kite wa, omiyage de suutsu keesu wo ippai ni shite kuni ni kaeru.

= Whenever he comes to Japan / He often comes to Japan and goes back to his country with his suitcase filled with gifts. 

Ex. ゆかりは、夜中に起きては冷蔵庫を開けて何か食べている。

= Yukari wa, yonaka ni okite wa reizouko wo akete nanika tabete iru.

= Yukari always get up in the middle of night, opens the refrigerator and eats something. 

3) If /because ~ + unfavorable result / to give one’s negative comments or express one’s negative opinion towards the topics.

 :n: How to form:

* verb te-form  V ( = te) +  ( = wa)

* i – adjective  A( = ku) ては ( = tewa) 

* na-adjective  A~い ( = i) + では (dewa) 

* nounでは ( = dewa) 

Note: It is similar to たら ( = tara) but while たら ( = tara) can be used in a positive, neutral or negative meaning, ては ( = tewa) is used in a negative meaning. 

Ex. 忙しい時に、仕事を休まれては困ります。

= Isogashii toki ni, shigoto wo yasumarete wa komarimasu.

=  It will be a problem if you skip work when we are busy.

Ex. そんなに食べては、お腹をこわすよ。(casual) 

= Sonna ni tabetewa  onaka wo kowasu yo.

= If you eat that much, you will have a stomachache. 

Ex. 子供ではこのゲームは無理です。

= Kodomo dewa kono geemu wa muri desu.

= This game is impossible for children (to play). 

Ex. こんなに高くては売り物になりません。

= Konna ni takakute wa urimono ni narimasen.

(Literal meaning:  If it is this expensive, it won’t be sold.)

= This is too expensive (to sell). or Nobody is going to buy it at that price. 

Ex. 仕事未経験では雇えません。

= Shigoto mikeiken dewa yatoemasen.

= We can’t hire you if / because you have no working experiences. 

Ex. 彼が相手では勝てるわけがない。

= Kare ga aite dewa kateru wake ga nai.

(literal meaning) If my contender is  him, there is no way to win.

= There is no way to beat him.

From an old saying

Ex. 急いては事を仕損じる

= Seite wa koto wo shisonjiru 

= If you hurry so much, you will makes your work fail.

= Haste makes waste 

When someone gives you a lot of gifts/money, etc.

Ex. そんなにいただいては申し訳ないです。

= Sonna ni itadaite wa moushiwake nai desu.

(Literal meaning)  I would feel really bad if you give me that much.

= I can’t accept this. This is too much.

 :s: Cultural Note: 

This is not actually unfavorable event nor negative comment but Japanese people say “sorry”  when they show their appreciation. 

Or we even say:

Ex. そんなにいただいては、困ります。

= Sonnani itadaite wa, komarimasu.

(Literal meaning) I would be in trouble if I receive this much. / I feel bad that I receive this much.

= This is too much. (But thank you!) 

4) When you give advices / suggestions: Why don’t you ~? / How about  doing something?

Ex. この仕事、彼に任せてはいかがでしょう?

= Kono shigoto, kare ni makasete wa ikaga deshouka?

= How about leaving this work to him?

Note: You can say たら ( = tara).  たら ( = tara) is slightly more casual and conversational. 

 彼に任せたらどう?

= Kare ni makasetara dou?

= Why don’t you leave it to him?

Ex. 私の言葉を、信じてはいただけませんか?

= Watshi no kotoba wo shinjitewa itadakemasenka?

= Won’t you trust my words? 

You can also just say  

私の言葉を信じていただけませんか? 

= Watashi no kotoba wo shinjite itadakemasenka

It sounds more straightforward. 

You can stress what comes before  ( = wa) more in a subtle way. 

You sometimes leave the sentence unfinished on purpose so that you can avoid being too straight. The listener can read between the lines. 

Ex. もう彼のこと、許してやっては…. (どうでしょうか)

= Mou kare no koto, yurushite yattewa…(dou de shouka) 

= I wonder if you could forgive him already. (How about forging him already..)

5) Though you can’t expect good results, you will give it a try anyway.

For example, if you express your full commitment to study Japanese, you say

がんばります。

= Ganbarimasu.

= I will do my best.

But if you are not confident but you want to express at least you will try, you say: 

がんばっては、みます。

= Ganbatte wa, mimasu.

= At least I will give it a try.

Ex. 難しいかもしれませんが、上司にこの件について話しては、みます。

= Muzukashii kamo shiremasen ga, joushi ni kono ken ni tsuite hanashite wa, mimasu.

= It might be difficult but I will at least give it try and tell my boss about this matter.

★ Vては ( = tewa) + いられない ( = irarenai): can’t do something/ can’t keep some state/  It is not the time to do something because there is more important thing to do.

Ex. 明日は試験だから、ゲームで遊んではいられない。

= Ashita wa shiken dakara, geemu de asonde wa irarenai.

= I have exams tomorrow so there is no time to play game now. 

Ex. いつまでもくよくよしてはいられない。

= Itsumademo kuyokuyo shitewa irarenai.

= I can’t keep worrying about it anymore.

★ Vない ( = nai) + では ( = dewa) + いられない ( = irarenai) : can’t help doing something

Ex. 何か彼女のためにしないではいられない。

= Nanika kanojo no tame ni shinai dewa irarenai.

= I can’t help doing something for her.

You can also say  にはいられない ( = sezu ni wa irarenai)

Note:  Check my ずに ( = zuni) + ないで (  = naide) lesson for more details.

Vては ( = tewa) + いけません ( = ikemasen) /(more conversational) だめ ( = dame) 

1)  When you prohibit something: Don’t / You must not 

(Casual contraction) ては ( = tewa)

ちゃ ( = cha) /では ( = dewa) →じゃ ( = ja)

Ex. ここに落書きしてはいけません。

= Koko ni rakugaki shitewa ikemasen.

= Do not write scribble here.

Ex. コンサート中は携帯(電話)を使ってはいけません。

= Konsaato chuu wa keitai (denwa) wo tsukatte wa ikemasen.

= You must not use your cellphone during the concert. 

Ex. 廊下を走ってはいけません。

= Rouka wo hashitte wa ikemasen.

= You must not run in the hallway. 

Ex. 知らない人について行ってはだめだよ。

= Shiranai hito ni tsuite itte wa dame dayo.

= Do not follow strangers, OK?

(Casual speechついて行っちゃ = tsuite iccha) 

Ex. どうして彼にあのことを言ってはいけないの?

= Doushite kare ni anokoto wo itte wa ikenai no?  

= How come I can’t tell him about it?

(more conversational)

どうして彼にあのこと、言っちゃだめなの?

= Doushite kare ni anokoto, iccha dame nano?

Ex. あまり飲み過ぎてはいけませんよ。

= Amari nomisugitewa ikemasen yo.

= Don’t drink too much, OK?

(more conversational)

 あまり飲み過ぎちゃだめだよ。

= Amari nomisugicha dame dayo.

2) When you have to do something./ When you are obliged to do something:

Vなくては ( = naku tewa) + いけません ( = ikemasen) / なりません ( = narimasen) / (more conversational) だめ ( = dame) + ( です ( = desu) )

Note: なりません ( = narimasen) is more formal, literal / You tend to use it when you are talking about one’s duty.

Casual contraction: ちゃ ( = cha) / じゃ ( = ja) / きゃ ( = kya) 

 Ex. 法律は守らなくてはいけません。/ なりません。

= Houritsu wa mamoranakute wa ikemasen. / narimasen.

= We must obey the law.

Ex. 家に帰って宿題をしなくてはいけない。

= Ie ni kaette shukudai wo shinakute wa ikenai.

= I have to go home and do my homework. 

casual contraction

宿題をしなくちゃいけない

= shukudai wo shinakucha ikenai

or

宿題をしなきゃいけない

= shukudai wo shinakya ikenai.

Note: Check my  なきゃ & なくちゃ  (= nakya &  nakucha) lesson for more details. 

3) Asking for a permission / favor

Ex. 私の気持ち、わかってはいただけませんか?

= Watashi no kimochi, wakatte wa itadakemasenka?

= Is it too much to ask to understand my feelings?

Ex. 余った料理を家に持ち帰ってはいけませんか?

= Amatta ryouri wo ie ni mochikaette wa ikemasen ka?

= Can I take the leftover food home?

Ex. もう帰ってはいけませんか?

= Mou kaette wa ikemasen ka?

= Can we (or I)  go home now?

 :!: Note: When you ask for a permission, you also use ても ( = temo) 

It also depends on the intonation but usually ては ( = tewa) sounds more modest.

持ち帰ってもいいですか

= Mochikaette mo ii desu ka?

= Can I bring it back home?

もう帰ってもいいですか?

= Mou kaette mo ii desu ka?

= Can I go home now?

 You can’t give a permission with ては ( = tewa)

もう帰ってもいいです。

= Mou kaette mo iidesu.

= You may go home now.

もう帰ってはいいです。(wrong) 

= Mou kaettewa iidesu.

Check my How to use ても ( = temo) lesson for more details.

***

マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

ピンキー先生、クッキー先生ありがとう!

= Pinkii Sensei, Cookie Sensei arigatou!

=  Merci beaucoup, Pinkie and Cookie! 

私も、新しいレッスンを作ろうと思っては、昼寝して….の日々でした。

= Watashi mo, atarashii ressun wo tsukurou to omotte wa, hirune shite.. no hibi deshita.

= I often thought of making a new lesson and then took a nap after and days just went by.

 




You may also like

23 Comments

  1. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧ Hi Maggie sensei ( o’y’o ) ! ( I’ve seen on several online lesson page ) To _KO / SO / A / DO we can add _KO / NO / RE / U / ITSU / NNA / CHIRA . Actually , the presentation is not as that in textbooks . They go the lesson details long and eventually they say > . ( Things like that ) . It:s something I dreamed ?(๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧

    1. They say << Actually , some other demonstrative pronouns still exist which are used for people and have to do with direction >>( Things like that ) . It’s something I’ve dreamed ?

        1. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧ Thank you ! On to the next ! Maggie sensei , how to say FORTUNATELY and UNFORTUNATELY clause in japanese ? You’re wonderful ! (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧

          1. You just start a sentence with
            fortunately 幸いにも( = saiwai nimo) ・ありがたいことに (= arigatai kotoni) 、運よく (= un yoku)
            unfortunately 残念ながら ( = zannen nagara), 運の悪いことに(= un no warui kotoni)
            and continue the sentence

            Ex. 幸いにも日曜日でも店は開いていた。
            = Saiwai nimo nichiyoubi demo mise wa aite ita.
            = Fortunately the store was open even on Sunday.

            Ex. あいにく予約(よやく)はいっぱいだった。
            = Unfortunately it is all booked up.

  2. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧ Hi Maggie sensei ! I want to go directly to the link of your lesson for は particle .Thank you !

  3. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧Hi Maggie sensei ! ( I really want to be able to master everything as helpful and accurate as so called “prepositions” ) Nice Maggie sensei , how to say properly ” _ACROSS eg: _A RIVER ” and ” _AROUND eg: _JULY ” / ” _AROUND eg: _A TREE ” / ” _AROUND eg: _A COUNTRY ” in japanese ? I especially need the pattern for each of them that Maggie sensei will show ! Maggie’s wonderful !(๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧

    1. おはよう!
      ACROSS eg: _A RIVER ”
      It depends on the context but for example, My house is across the river
      川の向こう (かわのむこう)
      or
      川を渡った(かわをわたった) (ところにあります)

      So when you want to say “across the bridge, across the river”, you need an action verb, “crossing = 渡る(わたる)” or a word 向こう(mukou) the other side

      ” _AROUND eg: _JULY ” = 7月頃(ごろ)
      “around” + Time related word + 頃(ごろ)

      *around + number = approximately ~ = 大体(だいたい)〜・位(ぐらい・くらい)

      around 20 (years) = 二十歳(はたち)ぐらい

      ” _AROUND eg: _A TREE ” = 木の周り(まわり)

      around + big place = 周り(まわり)

      ” _AROUND eg: _A COUNTRY = 国の周辺(くにのしゅうへん)・国の周り(まわり)

      周辺(しゅうへん) is more formal

      1. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧( i’ll go them one by one ) (About the remark for ACROSS )Oh yeah ! I’ve understood ! Please show me it with ” TO WALK ACROSS THE RIVER ” (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧

          1. (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧Thank you ! ( New point ) Maggie sensei ! I’ve heard that there are some more demonstratives other than “_KO _NO _RE _U _ITSU _NNA _CHIRA and which seem to have to do with direction ー which they are ? Thank you ! (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧

  4. Hello! In conversations between friends, should I speak using the ちゃ and じゃ form? If so, could you give me more examples? Thank you!! I have trouble telling if I’m speaking too casually or too formally.

    1. There is no rule that you should use ちゃ/じゃ form with your friends. Sometimes we use that form simply because it is easier to pronounce that way.
      There are many causal speech forms but ちゃ/じゃ are pretty safe to use.

      それではまた→それじゃまた See you later!

  5. (。ŏ﹏ŏ) Hi Maggie sensei ! How curious is ” _ miteminufuri ” vocabulary construction ! Is this construction unique among all vocabularies or it has some cousins who are constructed just the same way ? Thank you ! (๑•̀ㅁ•́๑)✧

    1. Not that special.
      見て ( = mite ) to look and
      + 見ぬふり ( = minu furi) pretend that you didn’t see anything

      Vて = to do ~ and
      見ぬ is an old/literal form 見ない. (Ex. する→しない/ せぬ やる→やらない/ やらぬ)
      ふり= ふりをする= to pretend

  6. ლ(´ڡ`ლ)Hi Maggie sensei ❣ I’m curious about the suffix “_mi” and its meaning . Is it productive with vocabularies ? Please cite some examples ❣ Thank you ❣(´-﹏-`;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *