May 20, 2024


Entertain Reaching Stars

Just Wait Until You Get Your Hands on This Japanese Lesson!

4 min read

There are many English expressions that use the word “hand.” Japanese is no different. You might want to say, “You won’t get your hands on her money!” Alternatively, you might want to say something subtle such as, “I haven’t started my paper yet.” Believe it or not, both of these statements utilize the Japanese expression meaning “to put your hand on something.” The possibilities for using this expression are endless. Use this Upper Intermediate Japanese article to master tsukeru (“to put your hand on something”). Learn to say popular phrases such as “to withdraw one’s hand, give up.” And, discover how to ask for someone to give you a hand (favor) in Japanese. Finally, get your hands on the helpful Japanese vocabulary words in this Upper Intermediate Japanese article.

Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

orei – “gesture of gratitude, thanks”

ogoru – “to treat”

darashinai – “sloppy”

shimekiri – “deadline”

Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Today’s lesson focuses on expressions that use te, or “hand” in English.

te o tsukeru

Tsukeru is a verb meaning “to put something on.” This expression literally means “to put your hand on something.” It has different meanings depending on the context, but we generally use it to mean “to start working on something” as in today’s dialogue. One alternate meaning is “to get one’s hand on money which you are not allowed to use.”

Today’s Example:

Ashita shimekiri no repooto, nani mo te o tsukete nai n da yo.

“I haven’t even started my paper that’s due tomorrow.”

Other Examples:

  1. Kyoo no tesuto wa muzukashikute, te o tsukerarenakatta. “Today’s exam was too difficult for me to work on at all.”
  2. Tanin no o-kane ni te o tsukete wa ikenai. “Don’t get your hands on someone’s money.”

te o utsu

It means both “to close a bargain” or “to get something done,” and also “to take measures.” It literally means “to clap hands.” The first meaning (“to close a bargain”) comes from the Japanese custom in which people clap hands when they reach a mutual agreement.

Today’s Example:

  1. Ja, sore de te o utoo. “We have a deal!” (meaning “to close a bargain”)
  2. Nani ka te o utta hoo ga ii n ja nai ka. “So you should make your move soon, shouldn’t you?” (meaning “to take measures”)

Other Examples:

  1. Kare-ra wa, sono jooken de te o utta. “They agreed on those terms.”
  2. Mondai ga ookiku naru mae ni te o utta hoo ga yoi. “You should take measures to solve a problem before it gets serious.”

te gowai

It means “to be tough to beat.” Gowai or tegowai is written as tsuyoi in kanji, which means “to be strong.” We can use it as an -i ending adjective to modify an opponent or rival, or a problem to cope with.

Today’s Example:

  1. Saburoo ga!? Te gowai aite da naa. “What! Saburo?! He’s a formidable opponent.”

Other Examples:

  1. Kondo no shiai aite wa, te gowai zo. “The opposing team for the next game is tough to beat.”
  2. Kare wa, te gowai mondai ni torikunda. “He struggled with tough problems.”

te mo ashi mo denai

It means “can’t do anything against something” or “to be quite helpless.”

Today’s Example:

  1. Saburoo ga aite ja, te mo ashi mo denai yo. With Saburo as a competitor, there’s little I can do.

Other Examples:

  1. Kare wa, puro no bokushingu senshu o aite ni, te mo ashi mo denakatta. “I couldn’t do anything against a professional boxer.”
  2. 10-sai toshiue no ani to kenka shita. Te mo ashi mo denakatta. “I fought against my brother, who is ten years older than me. But, I couldn’t do anything against him.”

te o hiku

It literally means “to withdraw one’s hand” and has come to mean “to cut off the relationship with something” or “to back off.”

Today’s Example:

  1. Te o hikoo ka na. “Maybe I should give up.”

Other Examples:

  1. Ore wa, kono shigoto kara te o hiku yo. “I’ll back out of this job.”
  2. Ano kaisha wa, Nihon shijoo kara te o hiita. “That company retreated from the Japanese market.”

te o kariru

It literally means “to borrow someone’s hand” and has come to mean “to get help from someone.”

The opposite expression is te o kasu, which means “to give a hand to–” or “to help someone.”

Today’s Example:

  1. Omae no te o karite bakari de, warui na. “Sorry man, I’ve done nothing but ask for favors.”

Other Examples:

  1. Shukudai o suru no ni, tomodachi no te o karita. “I got my friend to help me do my homework.”
  2. Kono mondai o kaiketsu suru tame ni, kimi no te o karitai. “I want to ask you a favor to solve this problem.”
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