I'm writing an essay for school and to keep the word count down I've been using the verb masu form's stem instead of the te form.

However, I'm slightly confused by how consistent it needs to be. Does it only need to be used when you're linking two clauses or in every situation with the te form.

For example:


or would it be


Another example:


or would it be:


Similarly how would this construction work with grammatical constructions that require the te form such as てから or てくれる, etc.

Apologies for the poor examples, I'm not able to use my real essay examples because of plagiarism.

  • 乗ってい should be 乗っており in the first sentence. Also, I'm not sure if you meant to write 乗りい instead of just 乗り in the second sentence. Dec 11, 2020 at 15:08
  • 乗る is an intransitive verb, so it must be used with に, not を
    – Shurim
    Dec 11, 2020 at 18:22
  • @JamesEdwards I think the reason they wrote 乗りい was they were trying to combine the functionality of the stem and te-form... Like making 乗っていて into two stems instead of two て
    – Leebo
    Dec 11, 2020 at 22:16

1 Answer 1


As a starter, please keep in mind that the masu-stem (aka 連用形) and the te-form are different concepts. They work somewhat interchangeably when the stem is used in a situation called 中止法, but in most other cases, they are two different concepts, each with many unique usages.

In particular, subsidiary verbs ONLY take the te-form of a verb. 乗っている is fine but 乗りいる is wrong. 食べてみる is fine but 食べ見る is wrong.

い doesn't work as 中止法 although い is the masu-stem of いる. You have to use おり instead. This is an important exception you have to remember.

If you want to list two progressive actions (e.g., "I am walking and talking") you have to add ている to the second verb.

In addition, 電車を乗る is wrong. You have to say 電車に乗る.

Thus the following sentence is ungrammatical in three or four ways:


The corrected version is:

I'm on the train and am listening to music.

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