What’s with the Japanese “〜まして” form? (~mashite)

By | February 20, 2015

In Japanese, using polite speech properly is an important part of becoming fluent, and many textbooks or classes introduce the です/ます forms (ex: たべます)from day one.  This is especially important because many of the people you speak Japanese with might be people you have met for the first time, for example if you stop people on the streets on Tokyo to ask a question.

Once you start to get familiar with the non-past (~ます, です)  and past (~ました、でした) forms, you may eventually start playing around with other forms, for example the て form which would be たべまして for the verb たべる (to eat).

However for this polite て form, you need to be careful, since it isn’t exactly the same thing as the regular て form (ex: たべて).

Let’s look at a few example sentences. Which (one or more) of these do you think are natural Japanese?

 

A: 掃除をしましてください。   

B: みんな頑張りまして、いい試合でした。

C: みんな、頑張りましてね!    (said to motivate a group of people)

D: 私、結構頑張りまして。。。 (cuts off mid sentence)

 

The answer here is that B and D are natural, where A and C are not.

I’ll discuss each sentence below.

A: 掃除をしましてください。     

「〜まして 」+ 「ください」 is not a combination that is used. Instead use the normal て form here, as in「〜して 」+ 「ください」

B: みんな頑張りまして、いい試合でした。

Here the まして form is used mid-sentence to inject a bit of extra politeness there. There is often a pause after the まして form, as if someone is thinking. (The comma used hints at that)

However you can drop this まして form and keep the same meaning without any disrespect to anyone, and this is what I recommend. (“みんな頑張って、いい試合でした”).

C: みんな、頑張りましてね!    (said to motivate a group of people)

This usage is unnatural because the まして form is typically not used as a casual request. For that, just use the normal て form (“みんな、頑張ってね!”)

If I changed this sentence to the following so that it was a sentence fragment describing something that already happened, then it would be more natural sounding.

=> みんな、頑張りましてね。。。(そして勝利しました!)

D: 私、結構頑張りまして。。。 (cuts off mid sentence)

This is natural for the same reason state above, since it is being used simply to mean “I tried hard and…”.

 

Notes:

1) でして (て form of です)follows the same general rules as 〜しまして.

2) Other verb forms such as “〜ましたい” (want to)  and “~ましたかったら” (if/when) do exist but are used very rarely, so don’t worry about those.

3) Part of this post was verified by native speakers in this Oshiete goo post.

References

https://oshiete.goo.ne.jp/qa/8926927.html

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “What’s with the Japanese “〜まして” form? (~mashite)

  1. Andrew

    Hmmm very good, and very interesting. I had noticed some of this before so it’s nice to actually read about it. And I must say I’m extremely impressed with your site 😀

    Reply
  2. M Night Shyamalan

    You didn’t spell “properly” properly in your first sentence. And don’t you think “self-taught” is much lovelier with a hyphen in it? You say “the basic present” but don’t you mean “non-past”? “since it being” -> “since it is being”.

    Reply
    1. locksleyu Post author

      Thanks for the comments, I should have proofread this article more initially. I fixed them all except for “self-taught” which I am not going to change since it is the name of my blog and I would have to change it many different places. So I’ll keep the hyphen for consistency.

      Reply

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