In a song called "Tegami" I don't understand 宛てて+書く in


I wonder what's this rule and does this mean address(v) + write (v) or together make new meaning?

  • 1
    The dictionary form of the verb in Japanese is a finite verb form and cannot be called the 'infinitive'.
    – user1478
    Sep 7 '16 at 11:20

宛てて書く is not an idiomatic/compound verb. It's just two verbs, connected using the te-form.

宛てて is the te-form of the verb 宛てる (to address (a letter)), and this kind of te-form describes how or under what circumstances the second verb (書く) is done. In general, this type of V1 + て/で + V2 can be translated as "V2 (while) doing V1" or "V2 by doing V1".


  • 歩いて学校に行く go to school by walking / go to school on foot
  • 包丁を使ってたまねぎを切る cut an onion using a knife
  • 未来の自分に宛てて手紙を書く write a letter addressing the future self
  • 注意して歩く walk while paying attention / walk with attention
  • 遊んで過ごす live an idle life

See: て form and adverbial meaning


手紙 - A letter

書く手紙 - To write a letter

宛てて書く手紙 - To address and write a lettter

When you put it together with the rest of the lyrics:


If it's a letter written to myself in the future.... (next lines in the song finish the sentence)

And the verb form is yes, just て-form + the dictionary form, which joins two verbs.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.