てくる - Grammar Discussion

to come to・to become
to continue・starting to・has/have(had) been -ing

Structure

  • Verb[ ] + くる

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What is も doing in this example sentence?

あの女性は年取って、綺麗なってきている。
That woman is coming to be prettier even as she ages.

I don’t think I have seen it attached to the て-form before,
only with verb[る]+まで(も), as seen in まで(も).

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It’s a later grammar point (N4L8)

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Ah crap another one! Though this one seems simple enough.
Thanks for the rescue again s1212z! :D。

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In the sentence: お弁当を もってきて ください。
Why is it てくる and not ていく? How would the meaning of the sentence change if I would use ていくinstead?

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Hey :smiley:

お弁当を もってきて ください
お弁当を もっていって ください
are both correct, and which should you use depends on what do you want to say. The first means to “bring” (to come with something towards the speaker), while the second one means “take” (to go with something from the speaker).

It all comes to the difference between くる and いく:
くる expresses movement towards the point of refence, and いく expresses movement from the point of reference.

It can be either movement in space or in time.
The point of reference is usually the speaker, or now (unless specified).

I hope it helps!
Cheers!

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I’ve been a bit confused by the help text on this one:
クリスマスが **** から、子供たちが色々なものを欲しがっている。
It says “lit. has come to be near” and “is getting closer” - the first suggests past tense while the second suggests it’s continuative. I tried 近づいて来ている because it matched best with the English translation, but it didn’t like it. Is this just an unusual construction or is it actually wrong? Perhaps the translation could be amended to “Christmas has drawn near/er” to remove the ambiguity?

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@CrisH I have updated this sentence to reflect your suggestion. Cheers!

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Hi, hi, how is it going? I have a question about the first example.

What would be the difference in meaning between:

すぐ帰ってきて ね。
and
すぐ帰って ね。
?

I am struggling to get the nuance on what this example is trying to teach us about てくる.

Could you please help?

Many thanks! :smiley:

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@atticusd Thank you for your question.

TL;DR

すぐ帰ってきてね = “Come back (towards) home soon.” - Said by someone who is at home and wishes for the listener to return (back) home soon.

すぐ帰ってね = "Go home soon. - Said by someone who wishes the listener to return home. The speaker is not at or near the listener’s house.


It might be easier to think of the first verb being changed into a conjunction.

すぐ帰って could mean “go home soon (and…)” and not the request “go home soon.”

Let’s use the conjunctive here: すぐ帰って (go home soon and…) + くる (come). Now that we have added くる (to come) at the end we realize that the speaker is referring to someone else coming towards themselves.

Think of 帰る as just the act of “moving toward home” and くる as “coming toward” the speaker (who is at 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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Many many thanks for the awesome and detailed explanation! It makes things much clearer. Bunpro surely rocks. Learning grammar with your system is a joy! :blush:

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So I’ve got this dialogue in my book:

女:どこへ行くの?
男:このハガキを出しに行ってくる。帰りに何か買ってこようか?
女:そうね、たまごを買ってきてくれない?

These imply that the man will come back home after his errands, right?
Also, the こよう form might be a good addition to the examples.

@mrthuvi

That’s right! Once the man has taken the postcard to the post office, he asks the woman if he should buy anything on his way home.

Since the volitional form is introduced in the same lesson (Lesson 4), we did not include it in the examples for this particular grammar point. That being said, we include (て)こよう and other variations of てくる in subsequent levels. Cheers!

私(わたし)はアメリカに帰(かえ)ってから、どんどん太(ふと)っ てきた

Since coming back to America, I gradually have come to be fatter.

Why is どんどん used for “gradually” and not だんだん?

Good spot! I have updated the translation to more closely reflect the rapidness of どんどん. Cheers!

Misa just added a really good, 40+ minute video for ていくand てくる a few weeks ago.

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Note to those following the Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide path: the example 「すぐ帰ってきてね」can be confusing as the request part (きて) is covered later in Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide (in the “Making requests” chapter, ten chapters after the “Other uses of the te-form” where one learns about てくる).

Hey,
I have trouble understanding the structure of this exemple sentence, and how can I get to the final translation :

  • お金がなくなってきた
  • I have started to lose money

Breakdown:

  • お金がない => I have no money
    This is the base of the sentence

  • お金がなくなる => I become whithout money

  • お金がなくなってきた => I have come to become to have no money ?
    The logical literal translation would be instead : I have come to be in the state of becoming without money ? But I am not sure to understand what part could carry the “ing” (continuous change of state) of the becoming.

Why not saying this :

  • お金がなくなっていてきた => I have come to becoming whithout money

So it seems I am wrong in my translations somewhere, if someone could help me on this it would be great !
Thanks

I find it difficult to translate these literally, English just doesn’t work like that. But consider the non-chronological use, where the subject is literally arriving at a location:

ぬいぐるみを持ってきた - I brought plush toys

We can think of the entire first part of “ぬいぐるみを持って” as an adverbial phrase modifying きた that specifies in what way the subject arrived: I have arrived bearing plush toys.

Let’s go back to the chronological sense:

お金がなくなってきた - I have started to lose money

We can give this the same treatment and interpret “お金がなくなって” as an adverbial phrase modifying きた that specifies in which way the subject arrived at the present point in time: I have arrived at this point in time losing money.

In other words, losing money started at some point in the past and may still be going on.

I find this pretty difficult to explain to be honest, so I tried to make a picture. I probably forgot some important things but maybe it’s still useful.

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Holy smokes, awesome work here!

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