Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 1: 8/18

~てくる

To come to, To become, To continue, To be starting to, Has been ~ing

Structure

Verb[て]+ くる

Details

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About てくる

This grammar point is a combination of the conjunction particle , and the verb () 'to come'. To use this grammar point, you will need to attach to any verb, and then follow it with くる. This nuance is usually that '(A) happened, and then came', or 'will happen, and then come'. In other words, it will depend on whether くる is in present, or past tense.
  • 今日(きょう)宿題(しゅくだい)()てくる(わす)
    I forgot to bring my homework today too. (To 'come with' homework was forgotten)
  • パパ〜、じゃが(いも)()てきた
    Dad, I bought the potatoes. (Bought and 'came with')
てくる can be used when representing time, or when representing a physical place. When representing a physical place, it is more likely that the kanji structure, () will be used. However, this is not a set rule, and depends on the writer.
When used in relation to time, the nuance is usually that something has already come to pass, or will start to happen from now.
  • 最近(さいきん)日本語(にほんご)上手(うま)くなてきた(かん)する
    Recently I feel like I have come to be better at Japanese. (Very similar to 'gotten' in English)
This is the opposite of ていく, which indicates that something will change from the way that it is now, or will continue progressing in a certain way.
Fun Fact
When compared to English, てくる is very similar to the phrase 'to have come to (A)', in relation to time. This means that it focuses on the fact that the speaker will 'become (A)', should things continue in a specific way. In practice though, it is used like 'gotten' in most situations.

Examples

  • すぐ(かえ)てくる

    You will come back home soon, right? (Literally - Return and come)

  • 弁当(べんとう)()てきてください

    Please bring a bento when you come.

  • トイレ()てきます

    I will go to the bathroom and come back.

  • (わたし)アメリカ(かえ)ってからどんどん(ふと)てきた

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

  • (かあ)さん()てきた

    You have come to look like your mother.

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てくる – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (47 in total)

  • severian

    severian

    About 1 year ago

    なった would be “become”, but the sentence is wanting “came to be”.

    I finally became good at Japanese.
    vs
    I finally came to be good at Japanese.

  • Marcus

    Marcus

    About 1 year ago

    Thank you so much @severian !

    But, oh, blimey, my English is getting worse and worse, let alone learning Japanese! I can’t see any difference between those two sentences in terms of meaning!

    Let me go away and think about that one, because I just don’t feel like I have the brain-power right now! Thanks again so much!

  • othesius

    othesius

    About 1 month ago

    If I wanted to express a negative (i.e. something did not occur) would I use the negative て form or negative of くる?

    For example:

    昨日雪が降りすぎたので、家を出なくてきた。
    Because it snowed so much yesterday, I was unable to leave the house. (Perhaps this isn’t even an acceptable usage of the grammar structure)

    I don’t see examples of negatives used in the lesson.

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