Do potential verbs followed by adjectives ending a sentence have to be in te form?

For example


instead of


  • What context are you thinking of? Your samples are in the passive conjugation, not the potential. The potential for 見る is 見える. Dec 27, 2020 at 9:29
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi Aren't the passive and potential the same for 見る since it's an ichidan verb? 見える and 見られる as potential would be used in different situations.
    – Leebo
    Dec 27, 2020 at 9:33
  • @Leebo — That’s why I ask for more context — 見える is unambiguously potential, whereas 見られる parses to me (when appearing in isolation like this) as passive. But as you note, usage depends on context. Dec 27, 2020 at 9:37
  • 1
    @EiríkrÚtlendi Sorry for the slightly off-topic discussion, but my impression is that e.g. 富士山が見えて嬉しい would mean something like "I'm glad we were able to see Mount Fuji [because the weather conditions allowed it]" whereas with 見られて it could also mean something like "I'm glad I had the opportunity to see Mount Fuji". (Actually, without context 見られて here looks to me like potential rather than passive — simply because "I'm glad I had the opportunity to see [...]" seems a more common thing to say than "I'm glad [so.] saw me".) I view 見る as having two potential forms whose usage depends on context.
    – Earthliŋ
    Dec 27, 2020 at 10:51
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    @Earthliŋ, I betray my bias of 東北弁, where the ~られる forms are less commonly used for potential. This is a useful thread for me to re-標準語-ize. 😄 Dec 27, 2020 at 18:42

1 Answer 1


Yes, [potential form in te-form] + [i-adjective] is a common pattern. For example

I'm glad we met / I'm glad we were able to meet

Being able to get on a fire truck was fun

From a grammatical point of view, you cannot combine a verb in its basic form (e.g. 見られる) with an i-adjective / adjectival verb (e.g. 嬉しい). You could nominalize the verb (e.g. 見られるのは嬉しい), but it would read like a general statement, like "I enjoy being watched" (if 見られる is passive) or "I enjoy being able to see [new things, say]" (if 見られる is the potential form), but the latter is maybe not as natural as one would usually use the standard form rather than the potential form.

Using the te-form shows that the verbs happened in sequence, giving a notion of causality, like

(lit.) I was able to see and then (or rather because of it) I'm happy now
I'm glad [that/because] I was able to see [it]

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