I can't figure out if the difference between the two is just a matter of formality or if there are cases I would prefer to use one over the other regarding the context or nuance I want to convey. For example, what is the difference between:




Thank you


1 Answer 1


In a simple case like this, the only difference is that the masu-stem sounds more formal.

In a more complex sentences, te-forms and masu-stems can coexist. In such cases, I think te-forms tend to be used to describe a sequence of events, whereas masu-stems tend to be used to list things in parallel.

In this example, both sentences are correct, but Sentence 1 feels more natural and sophisticated than Sentence 2:

  1. 佐藤さんは高校を卒業して調理師になり、田中さんは免許を取って教師になりました。
  2. 佐藤さんは高校を卒業し調理師になって、田中さんは免許を取り教師になりました。

(This may be obvious to you, but note that masu-stem and te-form are basically different concepts, and they are usually not interchangeable in most other cases. For example, subsidiary verbs only follow a te-form.)

  • Thank you for the detaild explanation! Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 13:31

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