Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 12/18


If one keeps doing something, When, If something is...


Verb[て] + ては


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About ていては

ていては is a structure often seen with verbs that will express that 'if one continues with (A), (B)'. In most cases, this will indicate a negative outcome. ていては is a combination of the て-form of a verb, ()る 'to be' in its て-form, and は. The final ては is often considered its own conjunctive structure that may either exhibit hypothetical situations, or repetitive actions. In this case, it's a bit of a mix of both, depending on the verb it is attached to.
  • 毎日(まいにち)菓子(かし)ばかりを()ていては、いつまで()っても()せませんよ。
    If you keep only eating snacks, you'll never lose any weight.
  • 毎晩(まいばん)(あそ)でいては(かね)はたまりませんよ。
    If you keep going out every night, you won't save up money.
  • 仕事(しごと)(こと)ばかりを()にしていては旅行(りょこう)(たの)しめませんよ。
    If you keep worrying about work, you won't be able to enjoy your trip.
Fun-fact - Apart from the inclusion of ている to the base verb in order to show continuation, the ては in ていては is the same ては that appears with other set patterns such as てはいけない, てはならない, and てはだめ when expressing something negative.




    If you keep spending money like this every day, you will go bankrupt.


    If you keep avoiding problems till the end, you won't be able to accomplish anything.


    If you keep chasing the idealized image of a girlfriend, you will never be able to find a lover.


    If you keep relaxing, you won't be able to hold it. Put more effort into it!


    If you keep turning on the heat, it is too hot. It's already spring, you know.

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ていては – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (3 in total)

  • FredKore


    Could someone check me on this? I’m trying to dissect the second sentence…

    I will be very late. Would you mind if you started without me?

    Using one translation, this is:
    If you keep starting before (me), is that bad (would you mind)?

    But that doesn’t make sense. You only start once in this situation.

    Maybe this is more like describing a state:
    If you are in the state of starting before (me), is that bad?

    Anyone else have another way of looking at this grammar point?

    Also, how would it be different if it was this:

  • EbonyMidget


    Isn’t starting already continous so there’s no need to worry about adding “keep starting” or “in the state of starting”, similar to how if there’s some major sporting event or movie about to begin someone might shout “It’s starting” to let someone know it’s in the process of starting and to come in the room and not miss it. So the “keep” part might just be an addition to make clear the grammar can be negative/ criticial in tone e.g. “If you keep messing around…”. Personally I took the sentence ,with as little deviation from Japanese as possible, as something like “Is starting before me a no go?” because "no go " and 行けません seem similar . As far as just ては it doesn’t seem too different from looking at the grammar point for it

  • FredKore


    That makes sense!

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