Can someone explain why に particle is use here:


I came across this sentence in my studies ジョンさん、今朝ルークさんが会いに来ましたよ。and I am confused why the 会い takes the particle に after it.
I was translating the english to Japanese ( John, Luke came to see you this morning.) and I thought it would be 会ってきました。

Any help would be great thanks :smiley:

It means came to meet. You can use verb stem + に + 行く/来る to say “go/come to do verb” if that makes sense.

Another example might be 映画を見に行く = go to see movie.

More here: Polite Form and Verb Stems – Learn Japanese.

Hope this helps!


Can you also use the てくる form?

I’m not 100% sure here (others will hopefully clarify if not), but to try to answer why it’s not 会って来ました, when you chain verbs together using the て-form like this it usually means that one thing happened first and then the other after it (often because of it).

You can, for instance, say 出てきました if something (like, say, a pokémon!) appeared and came towards you.

Other examples might be 朝ごはんを作って食べました / Made breakfast and then ate it, or 悲しい映画を見て泣いた / Saw sad movie and cried (because it was sad).

〜ていく and 〜てくる can also be used to show that something is “coming” or “going” in time. As in 〜ていく is something that’s happening from now towards the future and 〜てくる is something that’s been happening in the past towards the present.

More on the last point here: Other uses of the te-form – Learn Japanese, way down under the header “Using motion verbs with the te-form”

EDIT: Looks like I was indeed a bit off… please take a look at the following replies.


Using 会ってきました would make a grammatically correct sentence, it just would mean something slightly different.

ye this is exactly what i need, thanks for the help :smiley:
it’s quite a useful rule

What would you say it means? Because I’m pretty sure you know this better than I do.

My interpretation was “meet (and then) come” which didn’t make much logical sense to me.

It would just be “met” with the directionality included. The speaker is where the meeting happened. If the speaker was somewhere else, they’d used 会っていきました.

At least, that’s how I’d see it. They don’t necessarily have to be “coming” after “meeting.”

Or maybe more like what you said, related to “coming in time.” He has “come to meet” in the way we say “come to know.”

I know for sure you can say it, but I’m not a grammar teacher.


To dovetail on the previous comments, verb stem-にいく/くる has the nuance of expressing the purpose of going or coming to do something that goes with it. For example in the sentence, 彼女と映画を見に行った (I went to see a movie with her), に indicates the action the subject is going to do. In other words the clause 彼女と映画を見(た) (I saw a movie with her), is treated as the target action for the verb 行く. (crihak does mention this in his first post, but I wanted to break it down further).

On the other hand, ~ていく/くる, as Leebo indicated, would most likely not include “coming” or “going” in it’s translation in English, but it would imply a directional component in relation to the speaker. Using the OP’s proposed alternative as an example, ジョンさん、今朝ルークさんが会ってきましたよ。would roughly mean “John, Luke met you (or us/me) this morning.” with a nuance that Luke made a trip toward where the speaker (and/or perhaps John) was and met the speaker (and/or John). If the indirect object were John, then the phrasing would also imply that John completely forgot about the event. The sentence as it was originally written gives the impression that it was a missed connection and the speaker was conveying that Luke made a trip to come meet where the speaker and John are. I’m sure there are probably exceptions how ~ていく/くる could be translated in certain contexts with other verbs, but I am unable to provide any at this time.

1 Like

ah ok, so te is usually used when it has an affect towards the speaker or topic?

The て-form in and of itself doesn’t serve such a function, but when verbs are conjugated to their て-form, coupled with いく or くる (acting as auxillary verbs with no explicit translatable meaning), they will convey this directional aspect with regard to the speaker’s perspective. I hope that makes sense.

1 Like

I guess to add further, the auxilliaries いく and くる are abstracted versions of their respective forms, 行く and 来る. They are so abstract to the point that I cannot come up with a corresponding grammatical equivalent in English. The closest comparison I can think of is the use of phrasal verbs in English. Phrasal verbs are verbs that are made up of a verb and prepositional particle. Here’s an example of different phrasal verbs using the verb “take”: take in, take out, take away, take up, take down, etc. As one can see, the prepositional particles (in, out, away, etc.) which follow the verb “take”, do not necessarily convey the same meaning when they stand alone. They do, however, provide an abstract idea of how each one is different from each other even though the verb is the same. For this reason, it’s best to understand the concept as a unit (~ていく/くる ) rather than trying to parse them and pinpoint each part’s meaning (~て + いく/くる).


I’m late to the party but if you want the same explanation with different words here is what’s in Genki I Chapter 7

ye super helpful, thanks Lucas

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.