いく Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Verb (Group 1)
Essential Meaning: To go / To come (i.e. movement away from the speaker’s viewpoint)
Construction: Group 1 Verb
- いく (行く in kanji) represents a movement away from the current viewpoint of the speaker (but not necessarily from the exact point where the speaker is located). For example, if someone is standing at the opposite side of the room from you, and that person walks into a different room entirely, 行く is the appropriate verb to describe that movement. In this case, the person is moving from a distant position to an even MORE distant position (i.e. it is a away from your viewpoint). The opposite of 行く is 来る, which describes a movement towards the current viewpoint of the speaker.
- E.g. ボブはカナダに行きます。[Bob is going to Canada.] In this sentence, the speaker apparently does not live in Canada because Bob’s trip to Canada is described as a movement away from the speaker’s viewpoint.
- E.g. ボブはカナダに来ます。[Bob is coming to Canada.] In this sentence, the speaker apparently lives in or around Canada because Bob’s trip to Canada is described as a movement towards the speaker’s viewpoint.
- Whenever the speaker moves, he or she is moving away from the current viewpoint. In other words, 行く is generally used whenever the speaker moves from one place to another. One exception is when the speaker goes to his or her home; the verb 帰る [To return] is usually used in such cases.
- E.g. 私はうちへ帰る。[I’m going home.]
- Sometimes, 行くand 来る can be interchanged depending on the speaker’s psychological attitude towards a certain place. In other words, the speaker can choose whether or not to place his or her psychological viewpoint at a certain place depending on how psychologically close they feel to that place.
- E.g. 君のうちに息子が来ませんでしたか。[Did my son come to your house?] Here, the speaker is placing himself psychologically near to the hearer’s house. It implies psychological closeness between the speaker and hearer.
- E.g. 君のうちに息子が行きませんでしたか。[Did my son go to your house?] Here, the speaker is placing himself psychologically distant from the hearer’s house. It implies psychological distance between the speaker and the hearer.
- E.g. (The speaker lives in San Francisco and is calling his friend in New York who is going to Los Angeles): スミスさんは来月ロスアンジェルスに来るそうですね。[Mr. Smith, I heard that you’re coming to LA next month?] 来る sounds natural here because Mr. Smith is making a movement in the direction of the speaker.
- E.g. The speaker lives in San Francisco and is calling his friend in New York who is going to Los Angeles: スミスさんは来月ロスアンジェルスに行くそうですね。[Mr. Smith, I heard that you’re going to LA next month?] This sounds unnatural since the speaker uses 行く even though Mr.Smith is making a movement in the speaker’s direction. It implies that the speaker feels very psychologically distant from Los Angeles (i.e. he doesn’t like Los Angeles).
田中さんは来週アメリカへ行く。[Ms. Tanaka is going to America next week.]
私は東京から大阪までバスで行った。[I went from Tokyo to Osaka.]
私は毎朝八時に会社に行く。[I go to work every morning at 8.]
A: こんばん私のうちでパーティーをしますが来ませんか。B: はい、行きます！[A: We’re having a party tonight. Are you coming? B: Yes, I’m going!]
あなたにもその知らせは行きましたか。[Did that notice go to you as well?]
その村にもバスは行っている。[The bus goes to that village as well.]
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