Holy cow, the て form gave me fits this week.

Sometimes, when I write this stuff, I’m afraid that I give the impression that I am some kind of Japanese language wizard who just absorbs the information and picks the language right up with no problems. If only that were true!

This is my third week on the て form, and I don’t blame either the textbook or my teacher for spending so much time on it. It’s important, and it has a variety of uses, but this third week about did me in. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Here were my tasks in my homework this week:

-looking at the て form of a verb and converting it back to the ます form while identifying it as Class I, II or III

-looking at pictures of sequential events and making sentences that describe what the pictures show, such as “I got out of bed, took a shower and ate breakfast.” (You have to use the て form to connect verbs.)

-looking at pictures of someone traveling to different places in different ways and describing how they travel, such as “From my house to the station, I went on foot, then I went by train to Shinagawa.” (Aside from the modes of transport and the appropriate words, you are connecting sequential verbs, so more て form there.)

-looking at pictures (Yes, there is a lot of looking at pictures, which is kind of a pain when you can’t actually figure out what is happening in the pictres!) and constructing sentences in reverse order. (Huh? I wrote that, and even I am not sure what it means, so let me give you an example.) I always take a shower and then eat breakfast, but, sometimes I eat breakfast and then take a shower. (That one is okay, since it is really just sequential verbs again.)

-constructing sentences using the て form and multiple verbs. For example, “This evening I finished supper and then went to see a movie.” Now, here we have sequential verbs “I finished, I went” but we also have two verbs in the same clause “I went to see…” In this exercise there are no pictures. First they give you an example sentence, then they give you the beginning of a sentence (or the end of a sentence) and you come up with something sensible to fill in the missing section.

And, because this giant grab bag of fun is not finished yet…we work on using は and が in the same sentence.


For example, “A rabbit は ears が long has.”

(Okay, okay, “A rabbit has long ears.”) Then there is a picture of a snake and another of an elephant and I have to write a similar sentence about each one.

And, we’re not done yet! (This chapter had a lot in it!)

-Make sentences using multiple adjectives. Let us not forget that there are two classes of adjectives (イー形容詞となー形容詞) and, when you string multiple adjectives together, you have to change the ending of every adjective except the last one, and how you change the ending depends on which class of adjective you are dealing with, because…Japanese!

-Then, as always, this is followed by the checksheet (チェックシート) in which you have sentences and you have to choose the correct word from a pair based on the sentence, and it is always a key word “should I use で or に?). And that’s one chapter!

I have to admit that I really struggled with my homework this week (partly because of the nature of the work and partly because of time constraints). It was frustrating and not particularly fun. But, a new week starts today (はい、木曜日です。木曜日は日本語のレッスンがあります)and I’m am still excited about Japanese and ready to learn form. Also, the next chapter is NOT about the て form but about the ない form which, I am assured, is much easier. Also, I don’t think it has a song, and I am greatly relieved about that. I even had to sing a piece of the て form song during my lesson this morning! Argh.

Anyway, it’s time for me to get to my actual job, which, sadly, is not just learning Japanese.



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