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There are two cases of the て form used that I do not understand in this sentence:

留学し本当に良かった。僕を変えてくれ友達や色々な大人のには感謝。

The context is someone returning from overseas exchange.


When I usually see the て form used like this, I assume it means "and". Usually being used to connect two clauses together.

For example:

勉強が足りなく試験に合格できなかった。

I didn't study enough "and" I couldn't pass the exam.

あの人は親切で頭が良く分かり易い。

That person is kind, smart, "and" easy to understand.


But I don't understand why in both cases the て form is used in first sentence.

Judging from the words used, I could translate the sentence as:

It was really good studying abroad. I thank the various adults and friends that have changed me.

I don't see how I can fit the word "and" into the translation.


One more thing I don't understand is how is 方 used in the sentence? I only understand 方 to be used for comparisons or "way of doing".

If possible I would appreciate a more accurate translation to help me understand the grammar.

  • 1
    As for 方, did you check a dictionary? – Leebo Mar 8 '18 at 14:52
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    Further hint, in case you don't get it right away from the dictionary: it's not pronounced ほう. – mamster Mar 8 '18 at 14:58
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    Why can't you think of it as "and" there? "I studied abroad, and it was good." ≅ "It was really good studying abroad." – istrasci Mar 8 '18 at 16:19
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    These are typical examples of te-form for reason/cause. But it can be understood using and, too: "I studied abroad and it was good. They changed me and I am thankful." – naruto Mar 9 '18 at 2:56
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The て form, or conjunctive particle て, has quite a few meanings and usages, such as:

connecting clauses or conjugatable words (赤く大きい)
expressing actions in sequence (風呂に入っ寝た)
cause or reason (高く買えない / どうし遅刻したの?)
means or method (塩をかけ味付けする / 首を絞め殺す)
manner of an action (黙っ話を聞く)
etc.

And in your example, you could think of the て as "expressing cause or reason" in a broad sense, or even more simply as "and" for connecting clauses if it's too complex for you, as in:

留学し本当に良かった。僕を変えてくれ友達や色々な大人の方には感謝。
"I studied abroad and it was really good. [They] have changed me and I'm thankful to my friends and many grownups."
"It was really good because I studied abroad. I'm thankful to my friends and many grownups because they have changed me."

In a narrower sense, the て's could be interpreted in another way, as in:

て 🈩〘接続助詞〙
❻ある判断(特に謝罪や感謝など)の対象となる出来事を表す。「失敗し当然だ」「君がいてくれ助かった」「来てくれありがとう」
(明鏡国語辞典)

The て expresses the object of one's judgement, apology, or gratitude. It often translates to "(I'm sorry, Thank you, etc.) for ~~ / that ~~." depending on sentence structure.

留学し本当に良かった。僕を変えてくれ友達や色々な大人の方には感謝。

留学した is the 対象 (object) of his judgement 良かった. In other words, he finds it good that he studied abroad. 僕を変えてくれた is the 対象 of his feeling (友達や色々な大人の方に)感謝. In other words, he feels gratitude toward friends and grownups for changing him. 

So your example can literally translate to:

"It was really good / I feel really happy that I studied abroad. I thank friends and many grownups for changing me."

A few examples with this て:

手伝ってくれありがとう。 Thank you for helping me.
会えよかった。 It was good that I met you.
嘘をついごめんなさい。 I'm sorry for lying.


As for the 方, it's read as かた, and is a respectful way of referring to people, or [人]{ひと}.

[大人]{おとな}の[人]{ひと} (neutral) → 大人の[方]{かた} (respectful)
[近所]{きんじょ}の人 (neutral) → ご近所の方 (respectful)
[待]{ま}っている人 (neutral) → お待ちの方 (respectful)

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