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Is it




What's the difference between くて and く?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

This construction is not limited to i-adjectives. You can have similar pairs with verbs. In general, you can continue a sequence of predicates with either

  • The stem of a verb/i-adjective, or


  • The て-form.


The stem form is the nuetral way of connecting predicates. It just lists predicates. On the other hand, the て-form is close to participles in English, adds additional meanings, and imposes the following restrictions:

  • The volitionality of the predicates connected must match. (Reminiscent of prohibition of dangling participles in English.)
  • The order in which the predicates are connected implies the temporal order.

Reference: Kuno, Susumu (1973). The Structure of the Japanese Language MIT Press.

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Thank you very much! Now I know the difference between the two. – Apple Oct 11 '11 at 20:56

I think it's no different than English when you use two adjectives to describe one noun, or one adverb that describes one adjective, that in turn describes one noun. Ex:

  • That is a wonderful, interesting article → Both "wonderful" and "interesting" are adjectives that describe the article.
  • That is a wonderfully interesting article → "interesting" in an adjective describing the article, and "wonderfully" is an adverb describing the level/extent of the "interesting-ness".

In this case, the difference in meaning is almost negligible. I think this would translate almost directly to Japanese:

  • 素晴らしくて面白い記事です。 vs.
  • 素晴らしく面白い記事です。

At least this is how I always think of it.

However, if it were something like "unexpected" and "interesting", only "unexpectedly interesting article" makes sense ("unexpected, interesting article" doesn't). This seems to fit with Japanese in that you can't really connect adjectives with 〜くて when the meanings are "opposite" or don't really complement each other.

  • × それがおかしくてよいものだ。
  • ○ それがおかしいけど、よいものだ。
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