までに - Grammar Discussion

by, by the time, before

Structure

  • Noun + までに

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Could someone explain why this uses 帰ってきて instead of just 帰って? I realize it probably has nothing to do with までに, but I wasn’t sure where to ask a question about a specific example sentence.

Hey! Think of 帰る as just the act of “moving toward home” and くる as “coming toward” the speaker (home). Since the movement in 帰る isn’t understood until we have more information, let’s look at a few examples with just 帰る:

家に帰る - いえにかえる - I will go home.
トムは家に帰る - とむはいえにかえる - Tom will go home.
今から家に帰るね - いまからいえにかえるね - I will go home now, okay?
In all of these examples, the speaker is not at home, but in a different location, and will be going home.

Now let’s look at some examples with 帰ってくる

何時に帰ってくるの? - なんじにかえってくるの? - When will you come back home?
ママは今から帰ってくるって - ままはいまからかえってくるって - Mom says that she is on her way back home now.
In both of these examples the speaker is at home, referring to someone coming back home at some point.
8時ぐらいに帰ってくると思う - 8じぐらいにかえってくるとおもう - I think that I will be home around 8
Said by someone that is still at home, talking about coming back home in the future.

In summary:
帰る is used to express the movement towards home when the person doing the moving is not at home and/or not being spoken to by someone who is at home.

帰ってくる is used to express the movement towards home by someone who is at home and is referring to coming back home in the future (“I will be home at 8” - said before they leave the house) or by someone who is at home speaking to someone who is not at home, but will come back home.

Hope this helps!

Edit: Additional reading

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Ah! I get it. So because the speaker is home, they add 来る. I assume it would sound wrong to a Japanese person if someone didn’t add 来る in the example of someone being home and asking someone else to come home too (to the same home). Is that correct?

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That’s right! :smile:

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5時までに漢字100文字覚えるのは大変です。
Is 文字 a counter in this sentence? The wiktionary page for it doesn’t say, but obviously it could just be missing from there.

Yes. You can also say 100字 but when saying it in conversation, some people might think you’re talking about 時間 so I would say you’re better off using 文字.

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Cool, thanks :slight_smile:

I’m not sure if I should ask this in the まで discussion or this one, but can this be used for counters also ? I was trying to read this interview and this sentence came up :
またスイス公演も開演1時間まで政府側の許可が下りないという事態に陥りました。
would saying 〇〇X時間まで always mean “until X hours before 〇〇” ? Would it work with other counters like in
終わり3ページまで主人公は死ぬと思ってた。I thought the main character would die until 3 pages before the end (of the book).

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Hey! :cowboy_hat_face::+1:

Yes, you can use number + counter + まで and it means “up to (up until) number + counter”.

Yup, it is correct.
To make it simple you can think of it as 終わりの3ページまで (or 最後の3ページまで).
I thought that the hero would die up to the last three pages. (correct Japanese btw!)

By the way, AまでにB means “by”. A expresses deadline before which something (B) happens.

明日までに答えてください。
Please answer me by tomorrow.

AまでB usually means that B continues to A.
10時まで待っていました。
I have (continously/non stop) waited until 10 o’clock.

I hope it helps,
Cheers!

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