I am trying to figure out the differences between all of these forms listed below. The examples are all part of these two pages:

  1. -te + iku

    I think I’ll continue to try my best from now on.

  2. ippou da

    Global environment is getting worse year after year.

    "Continues to" as in "more and more"

  3. bakari

    The baby keeps crying.

    Maybe more like: "The baby is only crying."

  4. bakari da

    The wound keeps getting deeper.

    "Becoming more and more"

  5. masu-stem + tsudukeru

    Keep walking!

  6. -te + kuru

    This tradition has continued for hundreds of years.

1 Answer 1

  • te-form + いく: By its nature, it has the meaning of "from now on". See: Difference between -ていく and -てくる
  • te-form + くる: It has the meaning of "up until now". See the link above, and this.
  • masu-stem + 続ける: An explicit way to say "to continue". Use it sparingly because ~ていく/~てくる/~ている is often enough.

The rest are less common than the above.

  • dictionary-form + 一方だ: As the word 一方 (one direction) suggests, this describes something is gradually changing to one direction. You can say 増える一方だ or 改善する一方だ but not 勉強する一方だ or 走る一方だ.
  • te-form + ばかり: It has a negative connotation and implies someone is keep doing something worthless. We often hear 寝てばかり, 遊んでばかり and 食べてばかり, but you can even say 働いてばかり when you don't want someone to keep working too hard.
  • dictionary-form + ばかり: Similar to 一方, but it's uncommon and a bit stiff, and is usually used in a negative way. 給料は増える一方だ and 給料は減るばかりだ are okay, but 給料は増えるばかりだ sounds weird.

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