Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 12/18

ていては

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

Structure

Verb[て] + ては

Details

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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.

Examples

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    このまま毎日(まいにち)そんな(ふう)にお(かね)使(つか)っていては破産(はさん)してしまいますよ。

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

    問題(もんだい)最後(さいご)まで()けていては(なに)()()げられないでしょ。

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

    理想(りそう)(ぞう)彼女(かのじょ)()(もと)めていては(けっ)して恋人(こいびと)出会(であ)えないよ。

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

    (ちから)()いていては()てない。もっと(ちから)()れて!

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

    暖房(だんぼう)つけていては(あつ)すぎる。もう(はる)なんだから。

    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

    FredKore

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

    来るのが遅すぎます。先に始めていてはいけませんか?
    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:
    先に始めてはいけませんか?

  • EbonyMidget

    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 https://www.bunpro.jp/grammar_points/562

  • FredKore

    FredKore

    That makes sense!

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