I have a difficulty to parse the following sentence.


I just understood the following partial phrases.

  • 中国人で means "with Chinese"
  • 日本語が話せる方 means "person who can speak Japanese"
  • お電話ください means "please telephone"

I have learnt で that functions as

  • バイクで学校へ行きます。I go to school by a motorcycle.
  • 家で食べます。 I eat at home.

But the particle で in question is difficult to understand.

What does the sentence actually mean and what is the usage of で in this case?

1 Answer 1


You are mixing up two completely different 「で's」.

  1. Particle 「で」← 「バイク行く」、「家食べる」, etc.

  2. [連用形]{れんようけい} (continuative form) of the affirmation auxiliary verb 「」. (Auxiliary verbs conjugate just as verbs and adjectives do.)


It is the second 「で」 above that is used in this sentence; therefore, 「中国人で」 does not mean "with Chinese".

「中国人日本語が話せる」 is a relative clause that modifies the 「方」 meaning "those who are Chinese and able to speak Japanese".

Therefore, the 「中国人で」 part can be replaced by 「中国人であり」.

It uses 「中国人」 instead of 「中国人」 because the phrase continues to add more information besides the applicants having to be Chinese.

The sentence means:

"Those who are Chinese and able to speak Japanese, please call (us)."

  • +1 Could you specify which ones are the main clause and the subordinate clause? I am also not sure which the subject of the sentence is. For example, if I am a teacher and make a notice on the exam sheet シャーペンで書いてください。", what is the subject of this sentence? Can I write it as 学生たちがシャーペンで書いてください。? Jun 10, 2015 at 23:37
  • 1
    I learned that the 連用形 of だ is であり, but the conjunctive form of だ is で. Did you mean conjunctive form, or do I have it all wrong?
    – q3d
    Jun 11, 2015 at 23:13
  • @FriendlyGhost: the implicit subject of your シャーペンで書いてください example would be "you, the person taking this exam", but just as with imperative forms in English, you wouldn't actually write it out, so no, you couln't add 学生たちが in front of it. Also note that the で in シャーペンで書いて is the same particle as in the バイクで行く example in l'électeur's answer, and is not the で that was troubling you in your original question.
    – Philippe
    Jul 3, 2017 at 13:22
  • 1
    One of the functions of the 連用形 is as a conjunction. It is not logical to say that であり is the 連用形 of だ. Rather, であり comes from である and not directly from だ.
    – user4032
    Jan 16, 2020 at 13:35

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