Other meaning of 〜ておく?

There’s this example sentence in WK:


Can you take the pufferfish out of the oven for me?

I learned that 〜ておく means “to do something in advance”. Does it mean the same thing in this sentence? What does the “in advance” part imply here?

ておく doesn’t necessarily mean “do in advance”, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. They’re going to eat it presumably after.

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What does it mean here? What would be the difference in the meaning with and without it?

Without it it would just be literally “take it out” with no added nuance.

ておく could also literally just mean “take out and put (somewhere)”, of course.


I don’t like the “to do in advance” translation at all, because it’s awkward. Instead I like to translate it as “to do something and leave it like that (for some reason)”. So in this sentence it would be translated literally as “Would you take the blowfish out of the oven and leave it like that?”.

Some other examples:
“窓を開けておきました” - I opened the window (and left it like that)
“冷蔵庫に食べ物を入れておいたよ” - I put the food in the fridge (and left it there) [for you]

So the point is always to specify that the object of the action was left in the state you put it in for some reason.


Most dictionaries list both “do in advance for some purpose” and “leave in a certain state” separately, even in Japanese.

Given that it’s a sentence with no other context, there won’t be a final definitive word, unfortunately.