Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 3: 15/17

つ (Conjunctive)

two contrasting actions


Verb[ます+ + (Antonym) Verb[ます+
Verb[ます+ + (Antonym) Verb[ます+ + + Noun
Verb[ます+ + Verb[られる]ーる +
Verb[ます+ + Verb[られる]ーる + + + Noun

()(もど) - going back and forth
()(しず) - rising and falling (bobbing)
()(かく) - coming in and out of sight
おい (from ()()) - wavering between
()(すが) - taking a good look
()んず(ほぐ) - struggling with
()()かれ - neck-and-neck
()()たれ - give-and-take
()()され - pull and be pulled
()()われ - lead changing many times
()()され - taking turns filling cups


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About つ〜つ

is a conjunction particle in Japanese that is used in constructions where it will appear twice, highlighting contrasting verbs. This つ~つ structure is often translated as 'to be doing (A) and (B) over and over', where the actions are happening repeatedly one after the other.
will connect to the conjunctive form of verbs, with (A) and (B) generally appearing in direct sequence.
  • (あたら)しく発売(はつばい)されたゲーム()()おうか(なや)みながら、お(みせ)(まえ)()(もど)した。
    I walked back and forth in front of the store, wondering if I should buy the newly released game console.
  • (かわ)()げた(くつ)()(しず)(なが)れていった。
    My shoe that came off in the river was bobbing up and down as it floated away.
Additionally, it is also quite common to see the same verb being repeated in both places. When this happens, the (A) verb will be in the standard form, while the (B) verb will be in the passive form. This just translates as 'to do (A) and to have (A) done to oneself'.
  • (ぼく)たちは()()たれ関係(かんけい)で、保育園(ほいくえん)(ころ)から(いま)(いた)るまでお(おたが)(たす)()ってきた。
    We have always been in a give and take relationship, helping each other from the time we were in nursery school until now.
  • コンサート会場(かいじょう)には大勢(おおぜい)(ひと)(あつ)まっていて、ゲートが(ひら)かれても()()され全然(ぜんぜん)会場(かいじょう)(はい)れなかった。
    There were so many people gathered at the concert venue that even when the gate was opened, I could not enter the venue at all because of the pushing and shoving.
This grammar pattern is only used with a limited set of words in modern Japanese. Here is a list of some standard combinations.
()きつ(もど)りつ - To go back and forth.
()きつ(しず)みつ - To surface and submerge (to bob).
()えつ(かく)れつ - To go in and our of sight.
とつおいつ (from ()りつ()きつ) - To waver between.
()めつ(すが)めつ - To take a good look.
()んず(ほど)れつ - To intertwine and release (to grapple).
()きつ()かれつ - To pull away and be pulled away from (to be neck and neck).
()ちつ()たれつ - To have and to be held (to give and take).
()しつ()されつ - To press and be pressed.
()いつ()われつ - To overtake and be overtaken.
()しつ()されつ - To pour and be poured (to take turns exchanging drinks).


  • (かれ)ドア(まえ)をしばらく不安(ふあん)げに()(もど)していたすえに(はい)ことにした。

    After some time, he finally decided to go inside after nervously going back and forth in front of the door.

  • アリとアリマキは()()たれ関係(かんけい)ある

    Ants and aphids have a give-and-take relationship.

  • 老人(ろうじん)小枝(こえだ)()(しず)(なが)めながら、(うみ)(にお)いを(たの)しんだ。

    The old man enjoyed the smell of the sea while watching the sinking and rising (bobbing) twig.

  • 藤原(ふじわら)拓海(たくみ)須藤(すどう)京一(きょういち)など、(おお)くの有名(ゆうめい)なドライバーが()()かれのレースを()(ひろ)げた。

    Takumi Fujiwara, Kyoichi Sudo, and many other famous drivers put on a neck and neck race.

    This means 'to pass then and be passed' and is usually used in racing, running, and other such sports.

  • (くも)(ぞら)(かぜ)(つよ)かったから(つき)(くも)()(かく)していた。

    It was a cloudy night with strong wind, so the moon was moving in and out of the clouds.

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つ〜つ – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (1 in total)

  • wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV


    About 1 year ago

    I noticed that くんずほぐれつ is spelled with ず instead of つ. While the only verb on the list that would fall into this category is 組む, so it’s hard to tell, is it correct to infer that ぬ・む verbs exhibit this as a form of 連濁? I’m not sure whether ぐ verbs would be similarly affected or if they would follow く and take つ.

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