I'm wondering if I translated the bolded part of the following sentence correctly due to not being 100% certain on the rules of the て-form.


I managed to translate the entire sentence as the following two possible translations, the bolded words corresponding with what I bolded above:

The knife is like a knife used by the military, not heavy, yet profound; it is a certain type of survival knife.

The knife is like a knife used by the military, not heavy, with a certain thickness found in a survival knife.

According to the following link, the て-form of adjectives is the equivalent negative and are created by replacing the 「い」 with 「くて」.


Negative: Same as i-adjectives, replace 「い」 with 「くて」.

Seeing as how 重い can mean ' heavy ' or ' massive ', does this mean that the te-form changes the meaning to ' not heavy ' if the て-form turns the original word into a negative?

Site I use for 重い possible translations: https://www.tanoshiijapanese.com/dictionary/entry_details.cfm?entry_id=32171&j=%E9%87%8D%E3%81%8F%E3%81%A6

2 Answers 2


No, て form does not mean it's negative, it's rather a sort of a conjunctive form. Notice that the linked page is about verbs, and the description doesn't say て form is negative, rather that negative て form of verbs is formed the same way as regular て form of adjectives (because negative plain form of a verb has adjectival form due to the ending -ない), as you can see from the sample conjugations table below the quoted part.

The bolded part is an adjective in a (not negative) て form, so it keeps its positive meaning joining what follows using "and".



「重くて」 means "heavy and". I am not sure how you ended up with "not heavy". Where in 「重くて」 are you seeing a negative element?

It is heavy and it has another quality to it, which is 「厚みのある」 ("thick").

The negative te-form would be 「重くなくて」("not heavy and").

Finally, the phrase in question is NOT a regular sentence (but you translated it as if it were a sentence). It is only a noun phrase meaning:

"A/The heavy and thick survival knife that one might use in the military."

  • I got the "not heavy" part by mistake by accidently thinking that te form meant negative due to the 'How to chain verbs together' example on the linked website. And what in the world is a "noun phrase"?
    – Toyu_Frey
    Dec 26, 2017 at 21:27
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noun_phrase . In short, a noun phrase is a sequence of words functioning as a noun, such as "a thick and heavy survival knife" or "Jenny's magic pony".
    – mamster
    Dec 26, 2017 at 22:43
  • @Toyu_Frey Many Japanese sentences lack main verbs at the end (called 体言止め). This is a common rhetoric device to make it sound dramatic. In main text of a novel, you can usually translate them as if they were regular sentences with a verb, like you did ("It was a knife ..." rather than "A knife ...").
    – naruto
    Dec 27, 2017 at 2:22

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