Looking for the best explanation of てくる & ていく

These grammar points aren’t clicking for me because they’re so abstract. I’ve been grappling with them on and off for a while. Can someone please recommend a video or article which properly explains them? Thank you.

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Hmm, maybe the point is that it’s not てくる, it’s (verbて) + くる. Putting a verb in te form sets it up to connect to another verb. 持っていく = hold + go = take with you.

You will find te form everywhere connecting two verb phrases.

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Thanks for replying. I was reading about them in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and on a site called JLPTsensei where I’m going down a list of JLPT grammar points.
I’ve looked at Maggie Sensei before but her explanation is really the same as everyone else’s.
I watched a CureDolly explanation video that helped me understand a bit more but I still don’t have it pinned down. Unfortunately it’s probably the best explanation I’ll ever find. I’m beginning to doubt that it’s even possible to explain something this abstract in a better way.

I will humbly present an article I wrote myself:


Read the “laying the foundation” section first, then “coming and going”.


CD video is probably the clearest explanation on this topic. And as she explains at the end, it’s not something you can truly “pin down”. Once you understand that it’s just metaphor of 行く and 来る all the way down and their broad usage (spatial, temporal, subjectivity…), there is not much else left except immerse in the language and get a feel for it. After seeing a million time people visibly cold saying 寒くなってきた when the temperature drops (like in the evening, or when a cold wind blow etc), it becomes clear that it’s the standard way to say something like “it’s getting cold (and I’m affected by it)”.


I liked that. Thank you for posting it.


This is brilliant, thanks a lot mate.

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I really enjoyed this too! Interesting and useful to understand the ‘mental models’ underpinning Japanese language and society.

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