くる Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Irregular Verb
Essential Meaning: To Come
Construction: Irregular Verb
- くる (来る in kanji) is generally used to describe a movement in the direction of the speaker’s physical location. It is analogous to the English verb “To come“. However, the speaker can also place his or her “emotional viewpoint” in a place where he or she isn’t physically present. For example, the speaker may place her emotional viewpoint at a place where she feels a strong sense of empathy and emotional-connectedness. Or, she may place her emotional viewpoint somewhere just for the sake of friendly conversation.
- E.g. 田中さんが明日うちへくる。[Ms. Tanaka is coming to my house tomorrow.] This is a typical use of 来る that represents a movement towards the speaker’s physical location.
- E.g. 家内が来たらすぐ帰るように言ってください。[If my wife comes by, please tell her to come home right away.] In this case, the speaker is placing his “emotional viewpoint” at the hearer’s house, so 来る represents a movement towards the speakers emotional viewpoint rather than towards his physical location. In English, we might say “If my wife comes by” because it sounds more natural and friendly than saying “If my wife goes to your house“. The same principle applies in Japanese.
- The opposite of くる is いく, which expresses a movement away from the speakers physical location or emotional viewpoint.
ナンシーは昨日パーティーに来ましたか。[Did Nancy come to the party yesterday?]
来週木口さんが名古屋に来るそうだ。[I heard that Mr. Kiguchi is coming to Nagoya next week.]
今日はまだ新聞が来ない。[The newspaper hasn’t come yet today.]
僕の研究室に明日来てください。[Please come to my laboratory tomorrow.]
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