Te form vs Imperative form: when should we use each inflection?

Jace *\(^o^)/*
Asked 6 years ago

I was studying the usage of 止す when I came across this line in the dictionary: 「恥の上塗りはよせ。」 "Don't bring on any more shame." Then, I realized that I have no idea why imperative is chosen here, where Te form is chosen elsewhere! It would seem the form 止せ could be written 止して without any substantial change in implication.


「恥の上塗りはよせ。」 "Don't bring on any more shame."

「恥の上塗りはよして。」 "Don't bring on any more shame."


Is the second gramattically incorrect? I've heard that Te form is more polite than imperative form, but then いらっしゃいませ, which appears to be imperative, is a polite greeting to customers. Interesting stuff.

Know someone who might be able to answer this question?

1 Answer


Great question!

We havne't coverd the imperatie form in our lessons yet, and hopefully we'll be able to cover it soon.

Anyway, the both sentences are correct.

As you say, when you use the te-form, you sound "softer" because よして is asking the person to stop the action.  But when you use imperative form: よせ, you are commanding the person to stop the action.

So, the te-form sounds more polite. 

I also would say that the imperative form sounds "macho."  Any native speaker of Japanese would assume that the first sentence 恥の上塗りはよせ was said by a guy (or a woman who acts like a man) not by a lady.  On the other hand, the second sentence sounds "feminine."

Hope this helps!

Answered 6 years ago