The Final Particle て

第41課: The Final Particle て

Particle classification is very important to keep in mind as you learn more about particles. The particle te て discussed in this lesson is a final particle and mustn’t be confused with its use as a conjunctive particle. 

The Final Particle Te て

Making light commands, whether they are in the affirmative or negative sense, utilize the particle te て with the option of there being a version of “to give (from the perspective of the giver)” following after it. 

Speech Register Affirmative Negative
Honorific ~てくださいませんか
-te kudasaimasen ka?
-naide kudasaimasen ka?
Very Formal ~てくださいませ
-te kudasaimase
-naide kudasaimase
-te kuremasen ka?~てくれますか
-te kuremasu ka?~てください
-te kudasai
-naide kuremasen ka?~ないでくれますか
-naide kuremasu ka?~ないでください
-naide kudasai
 Plain Speech~て
 Vulgar Speech~てくれ
-te kure
-naide kure

Learning the exact implications of these endings based on the speech register does take time, but forming a question out of a request naturally makes the sentence politer. Note that this list is not exhaustive as you can also use the verb kureru くれる to change a light command into a gentle request in plain speech (ex. yatte kurenai やってくれない? = “could you do this (for me)?”)

As for how the definition of “final particle” applies to this, when used without a verb for “to give,” it falls into this category.

1. ちょっと待って。(Casual)
Chotto matte.
Hold on.

2. 払い戻しをしてください。
Haraimodoshi wo shite kudasai.
Please refund this.

3. 助けて!

4. 教科書を{閉じて・しまって}テストを受けてください。
Kyо̄kasho wo [tojite/shimatte] tesuto wo ukete kudasai.
Please do your test by closing your textbooks.

5. やめてくれ!
Yamete kure!
Quit it!

6. これを見てくれない?
Kore wo mite kurenai?
Look at this.

7. タクシーを呼よんでください。
Takushii wo yonde kudasai.
Please call a taxi (for me).

8. はやく急いで!
Hayaku isoide! 
Hurry quickly!

9. もっとゆっくりと話してくれませんか。
Motto yukkuri to hanashite kuremasen ka?
Could you please speak more slowly. 

10. 速くしてよ!
Hayaku shite yo!
(Do it) faster! 

11. まっすぐ行ってください。
Massugu itte kudasai.
Please go straight.

12. 座布団を敷いてください。
Zabuton wo shiite kudasai.
Please sit on a cushion.

Culture NoteZabuton 座布団 are floor cushions used instead of chairs in traditional Japanese rooms.

13a. 見ていて!
Mite ite!
13b. 見てて!

Be watching! 

Contraction Note: –Tete ~てて is the contraction of -te ite ~ていて. 

14. ごゆっくり召し上がってくださいませ。(Very Formal)
Go-yukkuri meshiagatte kudasaimase.
Please take your time when eating.

15. 見つめないで!

Don’t stare (at me)!

16. 気にしないでください。
Ki ni shinaide kudasai.
Please don’t worry (about it).

17. お気になさらないでください(ませ)。(Very Formal)
O-ki ni nasaranaide kudasai(mase).
Please don’t worry (about it). 

The Ending -Teyo ~てよ

In traditional women’s speech, -teyo ~てよ asserts opinion. However, this phrase has essentially disappeared in the younger generations and is most likely to be used by older women or literature.

18. あたくし、ちっとも酔ってなんかいなくてよ。
Atakushi, chitto mo yotte nanka inakuteyo. 
I’m not even the least bit drunk. 
From 永すぎた春 by 三島由紀夫.

Particle Note: The particle nanka なんか is being used here as a filler word for emphasis.

19. かまわなくってよ。
I don’t care.

Variation Note: To distinguish this from other nuances, –teyo てよ can be seen as –tteyo ってよ even if the “t” is not normally geminate. 

Tone Note: With a commanding tone, -te yo ~てよ creates a light command in a begging sort of way and should not be confused with this grammar point. 

20. 服を買ってよ。
Fuku wo katte yo.
Buy clothes, k?

With a high intonation, the final particle te て, can form a question, but this particular usage has become rare and is typically replaced with other endings in modern speech, but it can occasionally be seen in music and literature. This too used to be a feature of women’s speech. 

21. あなた、私のいうことがわかって?
Anata, watashi no iu koto ga wakatte?
Do you understand what I’m saying?

Grammar Note: A light command with the final particle te て can still be pronounced with a question intonation and be marked with a question mark in writing, which is the normal interpretation given how the above grammar point has fallen out of use.

The Final Particle Te て After the Copula

The final particle te て may also follow plain forms of the copula to tell someone to do something or give some sort of instruction/warning. This, though, is uncommon and is now considered dialectical. 

22. 大変なことじゃて。(Dialectical)
Taihen-na koto ja te.
That’s a horrible thing!