Day Twenty Nine: te iru

-te iru and -ing


Alright, so as we’ve gone through a wide variety of sentence construction, you’re probably wondering how to say ‘[verb]-ing’ in Japanese. You know, the -ing verbs such as running, jumping, reading, reading, listening – all ‘ing‘ verbs. All of these verbs are in a current state of action. 


Base Te +いる is a verb conjugation that means to be [verb]-ing or to be in a state of action, a state of being, or a process that is currently happening. This grammar principle is predicated on combining the ‘Base Te’ for which can be used for continuation of action and いる which is one of the existence verbs. Combined, they express the idea of continuation or state of the modified verb. 


However, watch out for the conjugation with Base Te since it can vary with different verb endings – like the Japanese verb for reading, yomu, which conjugates in base て form to yonde, which makes the Base Te + iru – yondeiru. Just remember the base combination with Base Te with various verb endings result in varying forms of Base Te: bu, mu, nu = ndeku = itte; u, ru, tsu = tte; gu = ide; su=shite and so on.


* When using a movement verb like いく、くる etc. Base て+いる implies that they have gone and are still there.   



**Having trouble? Maybe you need a little edge? Try our Field Guide!

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Daily Vocabulary

Identifying Workers and Tradesmen in Various Fields


In Japanese, workers and tradesmen can be identified pretty easily if you know what to look for. Notice the suffixes that follow the following professions: doctor – isha (医者), artist gaka (画家), author sakka (作家), singer kasha (歌手), sports player senshu(選手), fisher ryoushi (漁師), engineer gishi (技師), and translator tsuyakusha (通訳者). The suffixes sha (者), ka (家), shi (師), nin/jin, (人), and less frequently – shu (手) are all common suffixes that indicate professions of some sort. However, be careful with sha (者) and nin/jin (人) because they can be used in many situations where people aren’t professionals at something, but are just people that are under a certain condition -such as higaisha (victim) – and in words that are simply used to describe a certain aspect/kind of person nihonjin (Japanese), gaijin (foreigner)and rinjin (neighbor).  


  1. doctor
  2. well/often 
  3. etc.
  4. pain 
  5. a cold
  6. artist
  7. sports player
  8. photographer
  9. author
  10. singer
  11. lawyer
  12. policeman
  13. chef
  14. soldier
  15. salaryman
  16. clerk
  17. engineer
  18. translator
  19. interpretor
  20. occupation 


  1. isha
  2. yoku
  3. nado
  4. itami
  5. kaze
  6. gaka
  7. senshu 
  8. shashinka
  9. sakka 
  10. kashu
  11. bengoshi
  12. keisatsukan
  13. ryorinin
  14. gunjin
  15. sarari-man
  16. shoki 
  17. gishi
  18. honyakusha
  19. tsuyakusha 
  20. shokugyou
  1. いしゃ
  2. よく
  3. など 
  4. いたみ 
  5. かぜ
  6. がか
  7. せんしゅ
  8. しゃしんか
  9. さっか
  10. かしゅ
  11. べんごし
  12. けいさつかん
  13. りょうりにん
  14. ぐんじん
  15. サラリーマン
  16. しょき
  17. ぎし
  18. ほんやくしゃ
  19. つうやくしゃ
  20. しょくぎょう 

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