てみる, てしまう, ておく - Te Form in Japanese
Anna Baffa VolpeGet in touch with me
11 min reading time
Today we see together one of the uses of the te form of the verb in the expressions てみる、てしまう、ておく.
These are forms of common use in everyday life and conversation in Japan. We will also see variations of the same forms in informal contexts.
Let's first review the grammar rule to get the te form.
For the ichidan verbs, single base, it is sufficient to omit the final syllable る and add て:
見る, remove る and get 見 + て: 見て
起きる, remove る and get 起き + て: 起きて
For the godan verbs we have 4 groups instead. We suggest to read the section that deals in detail with the various forms. Here are some representative examples:
座る becomes 座って
置く becomes 置いて
飲む becomes 飲んで
話す becomes 話して
てみる - Try to do something
The first use sees the form in て combined with the verb 見る which means
observe and is used every time you try to do something.
I tried to write the name in kanji .
When I go to Japan, I would like to try wearing a kimono .
- In this sentence we used the form in たい, which expresses the
desire to do something
試し is the proof, the experiment, the test
With the form てみる you often find the
adverb 試しに written generally in hiragana ためしに,
A: This bakery seems to be very popular. B: So let's buy some bread to try it!
If we want to explain てみる with a Japanese sentence, we can say:
I don't know if it's good or bad, good or bad, but I try .
I made some cookies, come on try them!
We are expressing attempts that are made, the outcome is not known, but what matters is to try to do the action or to suggest to the other person to perform the action regardless of the result.
I heard they opened a new restaurant in udon. Shall we try it?
In the sentence we find the form みようか, in its polite form みましょうか, widely used when you want to
invite someone to do somethingor for a
電話してみようか: (what do you say) let's try to call?
I didn't know the person's name. I tried to find the address using a map .
しまう - To end up doing something
The second use of the te form involves the union with the verb しまう, the form てしまう and てしまいます in its polite version.
It is used to express:
An action that has been completed completely
An accidental action, without a real will on the part of the subject
An action or event that generates regret
I felt tired and ended up going to bed .
The sense is that there was no real intention to go to sleep, but from exhaustion I ended up going to bed.
I ate all the cake I bought yesterday .
This sentence expresses the
completion of an action, in Japanese 完了 (
kanryō) and we can add that the verbs used in these cases they are called 意志動詞
ishi dōshi and refer to intentional actions:
- 意志 is the
willand 動詞 the
Contracted forms of てしまう
This form has a contracted version that is used in a confidential and informal context:
ちゃう and じゃう for the
ちゃった and じゃった for the
How do I decide whether to use ちゃう or じゃう?
I add ちゃう if the verb ends with the form in te て
I add じゃう if the verb ends with the form in de で
I ended up losing my identity card .
Here we are talking about an event that happened, obviously there was no will on the part of the subject,
it happened, an
Here is a sentence taken from an advertising of some sweets:
Five super cute sweets you will want to eat .
We have the colloquial, confidential form ちゃう which is conjugated and expressed with the suffix
たい expressing a wishand thus becomes: verbal base + ちゃいたい
its form with しまう is instead しまいたい、 食べしまいたい
My valuable clock broke .
This type of sentence expresses the feeling of 後悔
regret and of 残念
disappointment and in these cases it is involuntary actions 無意志動詞
This sentence is literally I ended up arriving late and also expresses regret for an action where there was no will on the part of the subject.
ておく - Do something in advance, prepare for
The third expression we see is the te form + the verb おく: ておく.
ておく is used whenever we anticipate something to facilitate and favor subsequent events, subsequent developments linked to that thing, to that action.
Since friends will come to visit me, I'll buy a cake (for the occasion) .
おく as a verb has the meaning of
put, so the sentence has the meaning of:
since some friends will come, I buy a cake and keep it there
I don't know if they will like it, but in the meantime, for safety, I buy it and keep it at home
A word that expresses the use of ておく is 準備, the preparations
Leave things as they are
そのままにする expresses the sense of this use well: leave as it is, in the position in which it is.
Since it's hot, leave the window open .
The key verb in this case is 放置する, leave the situation as it is
ておく is a
form used in the first person,
by the speaker and not by third parties. We can say:
私がケーキを買っておく: I buy a cake (in anticipation of my friends coming)
and not 彼がケーキを買っておく
Contracted form of ておく
In a colloquial and confidential context, we can use the contracted form of ておく which becomes とく.
The form ～ておく is thus used for actions that are undertaken early for a precise purpose and objective. It is therefore used for
intentional actions, with verbs called 意志動詞.
Before leaving, I'll get petrol.
Other examples with intentional actions:
I have noted important points .
Before your visit, it is best to make a phone call to friends (who visit) .
Let's see an example that shows a situation of 準備,
preparations, things we do in advance to facilitate future developments.
As concert tickets sell outquickly, we bought them 1 year earlier.
There is also a sense of
prevention in this form.
I keep my phone charged to avoid running down.
We have seen examples and applications of the 3 forms てみる, てしまう and ておく. The advice is to apply the various expressions, try to formulate your own sentences even in everyday and informal contexts.
ありがとうございました。 また 次回に！ Thanks and see you next time!