- 食べて (Tabete): "Eat."
- 読んで (Yonde): "Read."
- Please eat = tabete kudasai
Continuous Actions ~て+いる
A verb's te form with iru is used to show continuous action. This is probably the most used verb form of them all. Iru by itself is an ichidan verb meaning "to be; to exist," and when connected to another verb using the Te Form means "to be doing (something)."
- 待っている matte iru: "I am waiting",
- 知っている shitte iru: "I'm knowing" = "I know",
- 持っている matte iru: "I'm having" = "I have",
- ここに住んでいる koko ni sunde iru: "I'm living here" = "I live here".
- 待っている matte iru becomes 待ってる matteru "I'm having" = "I have",
- 知っている shitte iru becomes 知ってる shitteru "I'm knowing" = "I know"
- Watashi wa koko ni iru. (I am here.)
- Watashi wa aruite iru. (I am walking.)
- Karera wa zasshi o yonde iru. (They are reading a magazine.)
- Watashitachi wa Takamatsu ni sunde iru. (We are living in Takamatsu.)
- Shizuko wa tabete iru. (Shizuko is eating.)
- Kanojo wa sushi o tabetei ru. (She is eating sushi.)
- Bill wa nihongo o benkyou shiteru. (Bill is studying Japanese.)
"What did you do last night?" becomes "What were you doing last night?" Accordingly, the answer will be in the same tense.
- Sakuban nani o shite imashita ka. (What were you doing last night?)
- Terebi o mite imashita. (I was watching TV.)
A "V-te iru" form in Japanese is widely believed to be a grammatical equivalent of "be V-ing" (progressive form) in English. Here are instances found at: A Study of "V-te iru" in Japanese by Taeko Tomioka:
- Hanako wa ima hon o yondeiru. 花子は今本を読んでいる。Hanako is now reading a book.
- Hikoki ga sora o tondeiru. 飛行機が空を飛んでいる。An airplane is flying in the sky.
- Sono inu wa shindeiru. その犬は死んでいる。The dog is dead. (Not: The dog is dying.)
- Kare wa futotteiru. 彼は太っている。 He is fat. (Not: He is getting fat.)
- Okane ga michi ni ochiteiru. お金が道に落ちている。Somebody dropped money on the street. (Not: Money is falling onto the street.)
- Chichi wa shujutsu-shitsu ni haitteiru. 父は手術室に入っている。My father is in an operating room. (Not: My father is entering an operating room.)
- Otto wa totemo tsukareteiru. 夫はとても疲れている。My husband is very tired. (Not: My husband is getting very tired.)