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寝太郎{ねたろう}はのんきに空{そら}をながめては暮{く}らしておりました。

My translation: Netarou was living by heedlessly looking the sky.

What does ては mean in this sentence?

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1 Answer 1

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「Verb A in て/で-form + + Verb B」

means:

"to do A and B repeatedly as in a pair"

So, your translation looks good.

By far the most common and "famous" phrase using this structure would be 「食{く}っちゃ寝{ね}」, which is the colloquial pronunciation of 「食っては寝(て or る)」. That means "someone just eats and sleeps all day".

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  • Does this 「食っちゃ寝」expression sound slightly 'rough'?
    – Angelos
    Feb 17, 2017 at 12:22
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    Just a lttle bit, maybe, but not so much at all. It is in such wide use and it kinda sounds "lively" if anything. It says a lot in just three syllables.
    – user4032
    Feb 17, 2017 at 13:26

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