How come 「伊藤さんは仕事が多くて休みすぎのようです。」isn't grammatically correct?

According to native speakers, this means something like:

Itou-san has a lot of work, therefore he seems to be resting too much

Which, yea, doesn't make sense.

But why does that not get interpreted as:

Itou-san has a lot of work and it seems like he's taking too many breaks.

Like even though Itou has a lot of work, he's still taking too many breaks, lazy bastard.

I've read this article titled "te-form (て-form) for Cause or Reason", where the author states that the constraints for using て as "therefore" is that the resulting sentence must not contain "volition or intention".

Does 休み contain volition or intention?

A friend tried to explain that it's about the のよう, so the sentence is more like:

Itou-san has a lot of work and it's like he is working too much

So if this were the case, て is "and".

But if I changed the sentence to:


This is still wrong? Even though there's no のよう

Can anybody explain to me what's going on here? How come Japanese speakers read the て here as a cause, but not in 「妹は8歳で、猫が好きで、かわいくて、優しい子です。」?

Made 2 posts on HiNative about this:



1 Answer 1


The reason your sentence, with or without のよう, sounds unnatural is not because the て-form is interpreted as indicating a reason or cause. I’m a native speaker, and I don’t particularly read the meaning of “therefore” in it.

However, the sentence still sounds unnatural because the main clause, which follows the て-form, says something that goes contrary to what you would naturally expect from what was stated in the preceding part. It’s not grammar that’s wrong. The sentence goes against the natural flow of logic the listener/reader expects from the て-form conjunction.

For example, the following sentence sounds reasonably natural.

Itou-san has a lot of work and it seems like he's not sleeping very well.

For your sentence to sound natural, it would need a different kind of conjunction. such as のに.

Despite the fact Itou has a lot of work, he is taking too many breaks.

The following sentence sounds even more natural, but that’s a different issue.


  • Unbelievable, thanks so much for answering this, it took 3 days for someone to finally be able to explain it in a way I can understand 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️. I don't want to keep translating things back to English but would a more accurate translation be something like- Just completely drop "therefore" and "and": "Itou-san has a lot of work, he seems to be resting too much." From that, I can definitely see how it doesn't flow properly. My question now would be if there's anything in English flows naturally but in Japanese doesn't? For example: 「バスケをして、疲れました。」and 「バスケをして、元気いっぱいです。」
    – ItsCheif
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 10:05
  • @ItsCheif: バスケをして、疲れました sounds natural enough as a translation of “I played basketball and got tired,” whereas バスケをして、元気いっぱいです doesn’t sound so natural to me, at least if you meant “I played basketball and am full of energy.” It sounds more natural as an observation of someone other than yourself, like “They are playing basketball, full of energy.”
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 13:43
  • @ItsCheif: 疲れました in the first sentence refers to a change of state (“get tired”), rather than a current state (“be tired,” which should be translated as 疲れています). So, the sentence connects a past action and a past change of state that happened in the order in which they are said. This is fine.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 13:45
  • @ItsCheif: 元気いっぱいです in the second sentence, on the other hand, refers to a current state (“be full of energy”). So, if バスケをして is to be interpreted as a past action as in the first sentence, this sentence connects a past action and a current state. While this itself might not be a problem, I would expect some information to be provided that logically connects the two. バスケをして、元気いっぱいになりました sounds as natural as the first sentence because it connects a past action and a past change of state in the order in which they occurred, just like the first sentence.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 13:45
  • Awesome man, thank you so much for helping me! ありがとうございます!
    – ItsCheif
    Commented Apr 26, 2021 at 8:43

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