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Te form in Japanese verb conjugation

Written by Kaori sensei

First, Te form in Japanese verb conjugation is one of the most important part of Japanese study and is the first barrier for beginner learners. By learning it and being able to operationalize it, you will be able to use many expressions.

Today I will show you how to make Te form and introduce some important expressions used with Te form at the beginner level.

Japanese verb conjugation

Convert to Te form in Japanese verb, how?

Anyway Japanese verb conjugations are first grouped, then the rules for each group are applied.

Step1. Divide verbs into groups

We can divide Japanese verbs into 3 groups. If you are not yet confident in your grouping, check out this article first to see how to group them.

U verbs / GroupⅠRu verbs / Group ⅡIrregular verb / Group Ⅲ
のむ : drinkたべる : eatする : do
あう : meetおきる : get upくる : come
きく : listenねる : sleep
およぐ : swimみる : watch
Japanese verb groups based on Dictionary form

Step2. Convert to Te form

Next, I will present them in a simple order how to conver to Te form. Let’s look at Group II (Ru verbs), III (Irregular verbs), and finally Group I (U verbs).

This section explains how to convert from the dictionary form to Te form. If you would like to know how to convert from the masu-form to the Te form, please download this PDF file.

Ru-verbs / GroupⅡ

たべ  → たべ

“る” remove, add “て”.

Ru-verbs / GroupⅡ is always easy ! Say goodbye to ”Ru” and add “Te”.

Irregular verbs / Group Ⅲ

する → し

Let’s memorize.

くる → き

Let’s memorize.

Irregular verbs / Group III has only two verbs. Memorize it by rote.

U-verbs / Group Ⅰ

The problem is the U verb/Group I. The conversion depends on the last letter. For example,

 → あって

If the last letter is “う”, then “う” changes to “って”.

There are 6 patterns. This is faster if you look at the table, so please check this table. Also,you can download PDF too.

Te form in Japanese verb chart

Te form in Japanese verb chart
Te form Dictionary form to Te form

※if you want to download the table from Masu form to Te form. Please download from here.

How to practice Te form?

Step1. Proper understanding of rules

Surely,it seems obvious, doesn’t it? However, when different conjugations are introduced in the future, different rules will be used and many new verbs will be introduced. Therefore, it is important to firmly input “this is the rule for Te form”.

Step2. Repeat until you can answer reflexively

In the beginning, You will think…”Which group is this verb?” ,and then if it is Group I, You will remind that “What is the letter before Masu…..?”.It is the right process. However, when it comes to real conversation, there is no time to think about it. You need to respond reflexively, i.e., within 1-2 seconds.

Definitely, if you want to be able to speak, this time lag can be a problem. So, for this kind of conjugate memorization, use flashcards. The recommended app is Anki. If you haven’t used it yet, please also read this article.

If you are the type of person who learns by ear, learning by song will also be effective; a search on Youtube for “Te form song” will bring up many different types of songs. This is a Country Roads song.

Te form song

Te form expressions for beginners

Especially, Te form is used in a variety of expressions learned in beginner’s grammar. Today I will introduce 4 important ones.

1. ~てください (…, please)

: making a request


Please say it again.

*いう → いって (Group Ⅰ,U-verbs)

2. ~てもいいですか (May I…?)

: asking a permission


May I take a picture?

*とる → とって ( Group I , U-verbs)

3. ~てはいけません (You must not…)

: stating that something is forbidden

電車(でんしゃ)電話(でんわ)をしては いけません。

You must not call on the train.

*します → して ( Group Ⅲ , Irregular verbs)

4. ~ています ( I am doing…)

: present continious tense


I am watching on TV.

*みます → みて ( Group Ⅱ, Ru-verbs)

More about Japanese verbs conjugation

Additionlaly, if you want to master Japanese verbs, this is the book for you. Verbs are very important in any languages. Let’s master them and learn to speak them!

600 Basic Japanese Verbs

Please check other verb conjugation, Dictionary form and Negative form. These are also verb conjugations to be mastered at the beginner level! Check them out.

Japanese verb conjugation table for beginners
マス(けい) (Masu form)
(けい) (Te form)
辞書形(じしょけい) (Dictionary form)
ナイ(けい)(Negative form)()
(けい) (Ta form)
Japanese verb conjugation table

Did you get the vocabulary list for beginners?

About the author

Kaori sensei

Japanese online teacher, live in Kamakura, Japan. She is currently working as a language teacher and online Japanese experience host to introduce Japanese culture to the world. She originally worked as an engineer at a Japanese company, so she is familiar with Japanese business culture too.

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