2006
05.02

Masu Less

One of the things you notice when looking at a Japanese newspaper is that when joining two clauses, often a Vます form is used instead of the て form we learn earlier in our studies:

7時に起き準備をする。

A friend of my encouraged me to write using this form when writing my Japanese diary. Although I had assumed it was a fairly formal way of writing, I was assured that it was fine for my casual diary (then again, this friend prefers ので to から and so on).

In any case, I came across something which I presume could be exception to this rule. That is, verbs like 出ます and 来ます which have only one consanant-vowel pair before ます in their ます form. It would seem unlikely, I told myself, for 出ます to become simply 出 and 来ます to become 来 but I could be wrong. In this case do we need to revert to て form (出て and 来て)?



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  1. > often a Vます form is used instead of
    > the て form we learn earlier in our
    > studies
    It’s not really “instead of”; it’s a different use. It falls somewhere between Vるの and Vて.
    I liken it to the English (or German, if you know that) habit of constructing compound words on the fly. The verb (minus ます) is used as an action-noun modifying the following word.
    > It would seem unlikely, I told myself,
    > for 出ます to become simply 出 and
    > 来ます to become 来 but I could be
    > wrong.
    Considering 出来る (できる), I think you’re wrong 🙂

  2. http://www.guidetojapanese.org/formal.html
    and scroll to the bottom.

  3. SlyEcho, thank you the link – it confirms what I had guessed about this writing style. Interesting use of おり there as well.
    Bignose, I am not sure about what you are saying. The meaning is the same in these sentences, just the style of writing that is different.
    Yes, the 出 in 出来る is read as で, but that does not proove that 出 on its own would end a sequential action.
    I’ve asked a Japanese person about this and the reply was that it would sound strange to have just 出, but also that compound kanji words (出発し etc.) are more frequently used in writing which would mean such expressions would probably not be used in any case.

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