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Consider questions like:

Please leave the door open, thanks!

Could you please keep the lift's doors open? Thankyou

Please, leave it as it is.

They all imply something common: not changing the state of something. I know that まま is involved in this situations.

For example, this sentence is translated in this way:

そのままにして下{くだ}さい => Please, leave it as it is

And I know it is correct as I used it when I lived in Japan. But I do not know how to express more complex situations, like those ones I mentioned before.

Could you also provide a generic explanation, I mean the grammar rules behind this? Thankyou!

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is ~て+おく, e.g.

Please leave it the way it is.

The rationale is you do something and then you leave it that way ([置]{お}く means to put/leave). In informal situations ~て+おく is oftened shortened to ~とく, e.g.

Please leave the door open. (lit. Please open the door and leave it that way.)

Similar constructions are

  • ~てみる "to try to do sth.", or
  • ~てしまう "to do sth. (with a negative connotation)"
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Any comments, criticism, suggestions from the downvoter? – Earthliŋ Nov 7 '12 at 20:28
I'm not the downvoter, but I think ~ておく is only appropriate when the agent performs the action, and not when the state is simply allowed to persist. – jogloran Nov 8 '12 at 0:12
Do not know who downvoted it, I think it is really useful answer. Actually I wanted some clarifications. 1) You said the short form is 〜とく, so, is this example correct? 荷物はどこに置いたらいいですか。ああ、あそこに置いとくね。 Is it correct? Can I say あそこに置いとけ下さい。? 2) 〜てしまう can also mean something done and finished right? Thanks! – Andry Nov 8 '12 at 8:41
1) Your first example is correct. For your second example, you need to regard ~とく as normal verb, so you would need its ~て form to go before ください, i.e. あそこに置いといて下さい. 2) That depends on the tense you use: ~てしまう is non-past tense and can refer to something that's not done and finished. ~てしまった is past tense and done and finished, e.g. 食べてしまった "Sorry, I just ate it." (which, by the way, is often shortened to 食べちゃった, i.e. ~てしまう is shortened to ~ちゃう). – Earthliŋ Nov 8 '12 at 11:48

〜ておく means to do something in advance as preparation/expectation for something happening. That is to say, the thing is not yet done.

  • パーティーのため、ケーキを作っておく。 → I'll make a cake (ahead of time) for the party.

However, if the action is already done and you want it to continue to remain in that state, use 〜たまま.

  • ドアを開けたままにしてください。 → Please leave the door open (as it was already open). / "Please let the door remain as opened."
  • (Facebook login in Japanese) ログインしたままにする → Keep me logged in.
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Really appreciated the example of the Facebook login, nice! – Andry Nov 8 '12 at 8:44
Between yours and user1205935 answer, I chose the latter because it is little more complete. I really liked the short form explained in that answer, that's all. It is a detail, really, both answers are very good, but I had to choose... Thanks a lot istrasci! – Andry Nov 8 '12 at 8:46
No problem, you're free to choose whichever helped you more. – istrasci Nov 8 '12 at 15:27

For completeness, another way might be to use 〜っ放{ぱな}し on the end of the 連用形 (conjunctive form) of verbs, but in contrast to 〜たまま it tends to have a negative nuance, e.g. ドアを開けっ放しにしないでください "Please don't leave the door open".

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It is really interesting this other way you proposed. Since I studied Japanese in a pattern-fancy way, could you please explain what is the conjunctive form? Could you also detail a little more, the usage of っ放{ぱな}し? Thankyou – Andry Nov 8 '12 at 8:36
@Andry the 連用形{れんようけい} form of a verb is used before e.g. the 〜ます form (for example as in 走り(ます) and 食べ(ます) etc), there's a table at Wiktionary. I'll try to expand on my answer a bit later. – cypher Nov 8 '12 at 9:55

How about using 放る as in 放っておく.

まま と 放る

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