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て Form for Making Requests
The て form is a very useful structure in Japanese. Before jumping into its uses, you can read about how to put a verb into the て form on this page.
In addition to its use for linking actions, the て form is used to make requests. For example, when you tell someone to wake up, you can say:
- Wake up.
Without other sentence endings, this use of the て form is very casual. The impression that it gives depends on both the way you say it and the context, but be aware that it could sound blunt or overly friendly if used with people who you don't know well.
て With Other Sentence Endings
Verbs in the て form are often accompanied by other sentence endings such as よ, ね, and 下さい, and each of these adds a different meaning to the sentence. For example, if you want to be polite, you can say:
- Please wake up.
下さい is often translated as "please" in English, and it adds politeness to the request. If you ever spot your boss taking a sneaky nap at their desk, you can nap-shame them by saying this.
ないで for "Don't Do…" Requests
Now you might be wondering, what if I wanted to say "Don't do 〜" instead. You can check out more details about the conjugation in て Form (Verb Conjugation), but basically you'd want to turn the verb into its negative form, and then add で at the end. That's how you get the negative て form of verbs.
So if you are texting your crush, and your mom is being nosy (as usual) and trying to catch a glimpse of your phone, you can say:
- Don't look!
"I know you're spying on me, mom!" 😠 As mentioned earlier, making requests with て on its own is a casual thing to do, and the same is true of its negative form.