the new version of


1)What definition in Dictionary implies the '...ing' function of て,( as in 魚を食べている.)?
2) What definition in Dictionary implies the 'present perfect' function of て,( as in お前はもう死んでいる.)?

The old version of


Can 'verbABCている expressing the PAST'

be CONSIDERED as 'adverbialABC+いる'

and be UNDERSTOOD as 'is/exists+ABCly/in a state of ABC'?

You can follow the examples to understand my question well:

1)て verb as adverbial:


I eat watching the movie.

the adverbial is 見て and the verb is 食べる.

2)て-form for past events/states:


You already (have) died.

My proposition is:

Can we consider 死んで an adverbial in 2) of the verb いる and understand the sentence as:


You already 1(dyingly/in a state of dying/in a state of having died)2(exist/are).

and only consider it a particular case of the general rule 1) where the 'past sense' is contained/hidden in 死んで being an adverbial?


Here's where I started thinking about this idea: て form and adverbial meaning
Yes it's adverbial in relation to the verb (predicate), but you can't say it's simply an adverb (you can't use a te-form verb alone as an adverb).

  • 2
    That is an interesting observation. I'm afraid that this rather "English-centric" view of the て form can break apart in some cases. Consider てくる and ていく when referring to progression of events across time.
    – rebuuilt
    Jul 30, 2020 at 22:15
  • 2
    There's also an element of "do this, and (then) do that" when you have multiple verbs in a row. For ~を見て食べる, I'd parse this initially as closer to "I watch ~ and eat" or "I watch ~ and then eat", depending on context. For "[MAIN VERB]-ing while [OTHER VERB]-ing", I'd expect to see the 「[OTHER VERB] ながら [MAIN VERB]」 construction instead. Jul 31, 2020 at 22:05
  • 1
    @raruna if I understand the discussion, people are pointing out that Verbて may not be always adverbial, but it can be a way of chaining actions that occur sequentially but definitely at different times. This is all the more clear in constructions such as ていく / てくる. For example, 買っていく means that you first buy something, and after that, then you go. It doesn't mean that you buy things as you go at the same time.
    – jarmanso7
    Aug 1, 2020 at 22:39
  • 1
    If you look at monolingual definitions for て, the particle in question here, it's defined in Japanese as conjunctive particle (接助). They look at it as a conjunction, not an adverb.
    – Leebo
    Aug 2, 2020 at 1:50
  • 1
    @raruna weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%A6 and lookup for 接助, there is 10 definitions (if it's too difficult, google translate works fairly well with dictionary definition) Basically て is just connective/linking/conjunctive particle. Sometimes it links adverbial but not always, it's wider than that. Aug 2, 2020 at 15:01

1 Answer 1



I strrugled a bit to understand what ① and ⑧ speak about. And i'm not sure if my choice of the definitions was correct, but my effort lead me to this answer.

Any additional explanations or corrections/improvements concerning my answer are appreciated.


て is a conjunctive and has several definitions according to the dictionary https://www.weblio.jp/content/%E3%81%A6

Concerning the pattern 1)映画を見て食べる. I think it corresponds to the definition ① in 一( 接助 )in the dictionary.

Concerning the pattern 2)お前はもう死んでいる. I think it corresponds to definition ⑧ in 一( 接助 )in the dictionary.

  • If you are not sure about how to answer your own question, I suggest not answering it in a separate answer. Place your speculation within the question itself, not in an attempted answer to your own inquiry.
    – kandyman
    Aug 3, 2020 at 15:29
  • @kandyman I edited the order of the text so that it won't be misleading. I hope this will make things neutral.
    – raruna
    Aug 3, 2020 at 17:53

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