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While in Japan I came across the Kinokuniya mega bookshop, which I fell in love with. I went to one of the top floors, started browsing the Japanese learning books, and found a couple focused on listening and speaking, two of my weakest points, and completely in Japanese, which is another plus. In general they're not too difficult, as I got the ones most suited to my level, but now and then I come across certain things I haven't seen before. One of them is sentences ending in て

An example, from a listening exercise (dialogue between two international students and their host, before going back to their country.)

  • 山川:本当?うれしい、ありがとう。
  • リー:来るとき、連絡してね

Another example:

  • リー:ねえ、覚えてる?去年の4月、私が初めて日本へ来た時、山川さんに空港までむかえにきてもらったね。
  • 山川:もちろん覚えてるよ。リーさん、こんなに大きなかばんを2つも持って
  • リー:そうそう。一人で運べないから、山川さんに手伝ってもらって。本当に助かった。

I have also found examples of it on a Shin Chan volume I'm reading, for example:

  • おやつ食べたら体温計持ってきて

So, what's the purpose of finishing verbs in て at the end of the sentence?

EDIT: I understand the て (order) from the first conversation and the Shin Chan extract. Only the second one is left, which from context I understand is not an order.

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    Yes, sorry about that, I've edited it to include the complete lines and the one before them that initiated that part of the conversation. – Daniel Jul 29 '15 at 12:16
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As many said, 来るとき、連絡してね and 体温計持ってきて are the command usage. But 大きなかばんを2つも持って and 手伝ってもらって are just a conjunctive (or adverbial) usage.

  • リー:ねえ、覚えてる?去年の4月、私が初めて日本へ来た時、山川さんに空港までむかえにきてもらったね。 Hey, do you remember? Yamakawa-san, you came to the airport to pick me up when I first came to Japan last April.
  • 山川:もちろん覚えてるよ。リーさん、こんなに大きなかばんを2つも持って。 Of course I do, Lee-san. (You came) with as many as two this big bags.
  • リー:そうそう。一人で運べないから、山川さんに手伝ってもらって。本当に助かった。 Yeah, since I couldn't bring them all by myself, (I did them) with your help. I really appreciate it.
1

In your examples, the 〜て form of the verb is to make it a command.

I'm not sure if you've already come across this grammar point before, but to turn a verb into its command form, you convert the verb into the 〜て form and add ください after it.

For example, 持つ (to hold) → 持って下さい (please hold ~)

In casual conversation, it's common to remove the ください, and simply leave the verb in the 〜て form.

Your first example would translate to something like:

山川: Really? I'm glad, thanks!

りー: When you come, contact me!

EDIT: I should probably note that while I call this the command form, this is a polite way of making requests (Removing ください will make the request less polite). There is a verb form known as 命令形 which is a much more direct (more impolite) way of commanding someone compared to the 〜て form.

ーーーーーーー

EDIT 2: (EXPLAINING THE SECOND CONVERSATION)

I'm not entirely sure if this is correct, but I would assume that the 〜て form for 持って is a shortened version of 持ってる。

So the conversation goes something along the lines of...

リー: Heey, do you remember? Last April when I first came to Japan, Yamakawa-san came to pick me up from the airport, right?

山川: Of course I remember! Rii-san, you're holding two bags THIS big!?

リー: Yeah, yeah. I can't carry it all by myself, so could you help me? You've been very helpful!

  • 'command' isn't the only use of te-form seen in these examples. look at both 山川 and リー's lines in the 2nd convo. Kinda the OP's fault for not including all the context though but still... – Robin Jul 29 '15 at 11:48
  • I edited the post accordingly. Thanks for telling me! – April Jul 29 '15 at 12:55
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    No, 持って is not a shortened version of 持っている. That 持って is modifying Lee's 初めて日本へ来た. – user4092 Jul 30 '15 at 3:30
  • That's what I thought at first, but if that was the case, shouldn't the first clause in リー's reply be in the past tense? 「一人で運べなかったから」"Because I couldn't carry it by myself" – April Jul 30 '15 at 13:00
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It is one of the most used forms to give commands, but in a semi-polite manner. Maybe you have seen it with ください appended, which is used to increase politeness, as adding "please" to a command. I have been told by my teachers that it still is a command and not a request.

In your first example リー is telling (commanding) 山川 to advice her when coming to her place. In the second example 山川 is telling (commanding) the other person to bring 2 bags as big as the referenced. However, the て form that リー is using is to join actions, in other words, リー is thanking the action received.

In the Shin Chan example, the person is telling (commanding) other person to bring a thermometer.

  • 1
    If someone down votes at least should give a reason, because if there is an error then I would like to know. – user2553780 Jul 29 '15 at 11:43
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    It looks like the OP didn't include all the context but ...こんなに大きなかばんを2つも持って is never gonna be a command – Robin Jul 29 '15 at 11:43
  • Yes, only the first and last examples are commanding/asking situations. The others are just cases of conversational "laziness", in which you end in an arbitrary point, given that the rest can be automatically understood by the other person. – user10725 Jul 29 '15 at 21:00

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