Lesson 9. The Difference Between Come and Go in Japanese
The verb to come and to go in Japanese is not as simple as English does. The dictionary defines them as 来る (kuru) and 行く (iku) respectively. So, how do they differ from each other?
|Verb (Basic Form)||Verb (Polite Form)||Verb (Past Polite Form)||Meaning|
|来る (kuru)||来ます (kimasu)||来ました (kimashita)||to come|
|行く (iku)||行きます (ikimasu)||行きました (ikimashita)||to go|
Well, the key is the difference in point of view. In another word, it means that we need to consider the direction of the action before choosing 来る (kuru) or 行く (iku).
In fact, both 来る (kuru) and 行く (iku) refer to the same thing – the movement of someone/something from location A to location B.
Use 来る (kuru) when the object moves toward the speaker.
On the other hand, 行くis used when the object moves away from the speaker.
Let’s analyze which one is suitable situation case by case!
You are talking with your brother at your house. If you want to ask your brother whether Mr. Tanaka is coming to your house tomorrow, you will say:
Ashita Tanaka-san wa kimasu ka?
Will Mr. Tanaka come Tomorrow?
From this sentence, notice that there is a movement of Mr. Tanaka from somewhere towards the speaker (you, as the speaker). Therefore, you should use 来ます (kimasu) instead of 行きます (ikimasu).
You are talking with your friend at your school. Supposed that you are asking whether your friend went to the library yesterday. You will ask:
Kinō toshokan ni ikimashita ka?
Did you go to the library yesterday?
Conversely, the above sentence implies that there is a movement of your friend from where the speaker located (school) to somewhere (library). Thus, choose 行きます (ikimasu) in this case.
In short, 来ます (kimasu) indicates to here, while 行きます (ikimasu) indicates from here.
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