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I saw this line is a song:

時計塔の頂上椅子に座り微笑んでるあなたは

I'm curious why it uses すわ rather than 座って?

Since it's a sequence of actions I would've thought 座って would be more applicable, but since 座り actually happens to have an entry in the dictionary, maybe this is just an exception? This is also from a song set in a medieval-esque era, so maybe it was used to sound more literary? Curious to see if there's a definitive answer.

Thanks.

  • While I am not a native speaker, I have been taught that using the masu-stem is equivalent to using the te-form to link clauses. However, the masu-stem is usually only used in writing and is more formal. So in that instance, 座り serves the same purpose as 座って, but is probably used for both a formal atmosphere and perhaps for flow. – Coupon22 Oct 7 '15 at 3:28
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Like the ~て form, the ~ます stem can be used to express "verb, and..."
The ~ます stem can have the nuance of being more formal and/or factual, but for the most part they are interchangeable. Most likely the nuance arises from the ~ます stem being more popular in writing for being more compact.

I've read before that ~て form requires its phrases to be in sequence through time and ~ます stem doesn't, but the following links reject that. Instead they say that ~てから can be used to emphasise the order.

Here's a similar question and answer.
Here's the scholarly article that is in the answer from the first link.

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Though I'm not entirely certain, this may actually be combining verbs.

Because I'm not very good at explanations, here's an excerpt from Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese:

Other verbs are also sometimes attached to the stem to create new verbs. For example, when 「出す」 is attached to the stem of 「走る」, which is 「走り」, you get 「走り出す」 meaning "to break out into a run".

In this case, since the verbs are 微笑む (to smile) and 座る (probably to hold steady/hold still based on what I think) the combined verb by itself would come out to be something along the lines of "to hold a smile".

  • According to Jisho.org (WWWJDIC), the only compound verbs made from 座る were 座り直す and 座り込む; however, that is not to say that the author of the song did not make up a compound verb. – Coupon22 Oct 7 '15 at 3:38
  • @Coupon22 Ahh, either way I apologize if the answer I gave isn't correct. As I said I wasn't exactly sure. (It was mostly just the first thing that came to mind when I saw it.) – moon Oct 7 '15 at 3:41
  • Don't start your answer with "I am not certain" and don't apologize later for being wrong. StackExchange allows you to edit and improve your answer to the benefit of the original poster (OP) and yourself. Enjoy this process and learn instead of withdrawing. You found a proper resource (add a link to it!), but your reasoning is a bit strange. Try to google 座り微笑む - at first glance you should be able to revise. – macraf Oct 7 '15 at 11:36

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