333 - つ~つ

JLPT N1: つ~つ

The grammar point we're looking at today is used to combine verbs with contrasting meanings to say "doing A and B (back and forth)."

For example:

きょうえい の フリースタイル で ふたり の せんしゅ は おいつ おわれつ の せっせん を つづけた。
In the freestyle race, the two swimmers were neck and neck (=were chasing and being chased).
Literally: "swimming race + の + freestyle + で + two people + の + players + は + chasing and being chased + の + close contest + を + continued."
Note: The phrase 追いつ追われつ (おいつおわれつ) is common enough that it shows up in dictionaries on its own as "with the lead changing many times" or "alternately ahead and behind."

To form this construction, we need:

V-Stem + + V-Stem +

So we had the verb 追う (おう // to chase; to pursue) and it's passive form 追われる (おわれる // to be chased; to be pursued).

The masu-form of the verbs would be:


Then we chop off ます:

追い -(おい -
追われ -(おわれ -

And add つ:


Combine them to get an example of our grammar point:

chasing and being chased
[i.e. with the lead (in a race) changing many times])

You'll find that "masu-stem + つ" starts showing up quite a few times once you hit JLPT N2 grammar. While you don't hear this conjugation being used too much in spoken Japanese, it is relatively common in written materials.

Putting つ onto the masu-stem seems to mean something like "while VERB-ing," but that's just a personal inference, not something they teach in books.

Note that with today's grammar point, the two verbs that are used will have contrasting (i.e. opposite) meanings.

Here are a couple more examples:

その ひ の しごと の でき によって わたし の きぶん は うきつ しずみつ する。
My mood goes up and down depending on my performance at work each day.
Literally: "that + day + の + work + の + performance + according to + I + の + feeling / mood + は + rising and falling + does."
Note: This phrase, 浮きつ沈みつ (うきつしずみつ) also shows up on its own in dictionaries, usually as "rising and falling," "now rising, now falling."

ちち は いつも スーパー の やさい うりば を いきつ もどりつ し ながら ゆうしょく の メニュー を かんがえている。
My father always goes back and forth to the produce section at the supermarket while planning what to cook for dinner.
Literally: "father + は + always + supermarket + の + vegetables + place where things are sold + を + going and returning + while doing + dinner + の + menu + を + is thinking."
Note: Yet again, you'll find 行きつ戻りつ (いきつもどりつ) all by itself in some dictionaries as "going back and forth."

That's it for today. ^_^