I came across the following sentence. It is one of my Japanese assignments explanation:

次の「です・ます」 体【てい】 の文章を「だ・である」体【てい】 に書き換えましょう。Let's write and exchange the following text in「です・ます」form to the 「だ・である」form.

Although I understand the assignment, I'm struggling to figure out what 体【てい】 exactly means. According to jisho.org (bold added by me):

1. Appearance; air; condition; state; form​
2. Voice (grammar)​

So I believe that in my sentence, 体【てい】 means "form". However, as the second entry states "voice", which is a linguistic term, I wonder if 体【てい】 can be used only in linguistic contexts such as my assignment statement. Is that so?

If not, what are other contexts or situations where 体【てい】 can be used? I could not find example sentences either, I would appreciate it if you provide some.


  • 3
    へぇ。。? It's ~[体]{たい} (である[体]{たい}, ですます[体]{たい}, [敬体]{けいたい} etc..), not ~[体]{てい}, no? – Chocolate Sep 18 '19 at 5:58
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    Just so there is no confusion...the word 体{てい} does exist, but this is unrelated to that usage as Chocolate pointed out. – By137 Sep 18 '19 at 6:25
  • I see, I got confused by the dictionary entry. I think the correct entry is that one: 体【たい】, isn't it? – jarmanso7 Sep 18 '19 at 6:43

I think the 体 in 「である体」「ですます体」「敬体」「常体」 is read as たい.

"Voice" as a linguistic term is [態]{たい}, as in [受動態]{じゅどうたい}, [能動態]{のうどうたい}.

[体]{てい} can be used like...


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