How to say "and" in Japanese

edited May 2013 in Japanese
Saying “and” in Japanese is tricky. If you look up “and” in the dictionary, you probably get  to. This gives you an illusion that you can use  to just like the English connective “and”.

The truth is, you can only use  to to connect nouns. Phrases such as “mother and father”, “wine and beer”, “pencil and paper”, “joy and happiness” are all in the “Noun & Noun” format. This is the only case where you can replace the English connective “and” with the Japanese connective  to.

Then how do you say “and” as in “I ate dinner and watched TV.” or “My dog is cute and small.” in Japanese? In fact, there is no single word that corresponds to such thing in Japanese. That is why your dictionary doesn’t help.

Let’s try translating “I ate dinner and watched TV”. This is basically about putting the following two sentences into one.

私は夕飯を食べました。
Watashi wa yuuhan o tabemashita.

“I ate dinner.”
私はテレビを見ました。
Watashi wa terebi o mimashita.

“I watched TV.”

In order to put the two sentences together, use the te-form of the first predicate 食べました tabemashita “ate” and omit the subject of the second sentence 私は watashi wa “I”.

So we get,
私は夕飯を食べて、テレビを見ました。
Watashi wa yuuhan o tabete terebi o mimashita.

“I ate dinner and watched TV.”

The te-form is tenseless; there’s no such thing as “past tense te-form”. It’s understood that eating happened in the past because the whole sentence ends with the past tense (i.e. 見ました mimashita “watched”).

Let’s take another example, “My dog is cute and small”. Again, let’s break it down into two Japanese sentences:

私の犬はかわいいです。
Watashi no inu wa kawaii desu.

“My dog is cute.”
私の犬は小さいです。
Watashi no inu wa chiisai desu.

“My dog is small.”

To connect the two sentences, use the te-form of the first predicate かわいいです kawaii desu “is cute”.

私の犬はかわいくて小さいです。
Watashi no inu wa kawaikute chiisai desu.

“My dog is cute and small.”

Lastly, let’s look at “I am a student and study Japanese”. We need to connect the following two sentences together:

私は学生です。
Watashi wa gakusee desu.

“I am a student.”
私は日本語を勉強します。
Watashi wa nihongo o benkyooshimasu.

“I study Japanese.”

The first predicate is
学生です gakusee desu “is a student”. The te-form of “noun + desu” is always “noun + de”. So we get, 学生で gakusee de.

私は学生で、日本語を勉強します。
Watashi wa gakusee de nihongo o benkyooshimasu.


I often like to use comma right after “noun + de”, but it’s not required.

Comments

  • If you like to avoid the complexity of using the te-form, you can say two (or more) independent sentences instead of one. When you do that, you can use それから sorekara between the sentences.

    私は東京に行きます。それから、京都に行きます。
    Watashi wa Tokyoo ni ikimasu. Sorekara, Kyooto ni ikimasu.

    I'll go to Tokyo. And then I'll go to Kyoto.

    紅茶を一杯ください。それから、ミルクと砂糖はありますか。
    Koocha o ippai kudasai. Sorekara, miruku to satoo wa arimasuka.

    Please give me a cup of black tea. And also, do you have milk and sugar?

    紅茶を一杯ください。それからケーキを一つください。
    Koocha o ippai kudasai. Sorekara, keeki o hitotsu kudasai.

    Please give me a cup of black tea. And please give me a piece of cake.
  • Hello, with using the 'te-form', how can I combine these two?

    今日は金曜日です。今日は十一月十五日です

    today is friday and/is november 15th

    thank you
  • edited November 2013
    Thanks for your question!

    It will be:
    今日は金曜日で、十一月十五日です。
    きょうはきんようびで、じゅういちがつじゅうごにちです。
    Kyou wa kin-youbi de, juuichigatsu juugonichi desu.
    "Today is Friday and is Nov. 15"

  • ありがとうございました

  • Thanks Sakura Sensei :)
Register or Sign In to comment.