Wild Nihongo!


ていく Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 1)

Essential Meaning: Continue ~ing / Keep on ~ing / Continue getting ~er (i.e. some action continues or some state continues to change)


  • Verb て-Form +
    • E.g. んで [Continue on reading]
    • E.g. さむくなって [Continue getting colder]


  • ていく (てく in kanji) represents some action that continues on from a particular point in time or a state that continues changing from a particular point in time. It is analogous to “Continue ~ing” or “Keep on ~ing” in English.
  • く can represent an action or state that continues from the present, or it can represent an action or state that continues from a specified point in the past. .
    • E.g Continuation from the present: これからさむくなってく。[From now on, it will continue to get colder.]
    • E.g. Continuation from a point in the past: そのころから日本にほん経済けいざいつよくなってった。 [From that point on, Japan’s economy continued to get stronger.]
  • Sometimes てく and Verb て-Form + look identical, but they can be differentiated through context.
    • E.g. 毎日まいにち会社かいしゃにバスにってく。[Ever day, I ride the bus to work.] Here, ってく represents two distinct actions (i.e. boarding and then going) rather than one continuing action of boarding. It would be nonsensical to say that one “continues on boarding the bus”. Therefore, this is an example of the て-Form + .
    • E.g. あのレストランでコーヒーをんできましょう。[Let’s get a coffee at that restaurant and then go.] This sentence is an example of て-form + for the same reason as above. The speaker is saying “Let’s drink, and then let’s go” rather than “Let’s continue on drinking“.
  • When てく describes a changing state, it can be replaced by . The difference is that てく is more objective and impersonal. while involves the speaker personally.
    • E.g. これからあたたかくなってきますよ。[It will become warmer from now on.] This sentence comes across as an objective statement about the changing weather.
    • E.g. そのころから日本にほん経済けいざいつよくなってた。[From that time, Japan’s economy began to grow stronger.] Due to the presence of , this sentence implies that the speaker has some personal connection with the growing Japanese economy.

Example Sentences:

これからはさむくなってく。[From now on, it will keep on getting colder.]

これからは毎日まいにちほん一冊いっさつんでくつもりです。[From now on, I intend to continue reading a book per day.]

これからあたたかくなってきますよ。[From now on, it will continue getting warmer.]

そのころから日本にほん経済けいざいつよくなってった。[From that time, Japan’s economy continued to strengthen.]

からないことをノートにいてった。[I continued writing the things I didn’t understand in my notebook.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 2:40: ぼくてきたすべてをはなしてかせたい [I want to tell tell you about all the things that I kept on seeing]
At 1:43, listen for this line: よごれてサンゴもってさかなも、どうしたらいいのかからない [Both the coral that continues to get dirty and the fish populations that continue to decline…I’m not sure what we should do about it] Note that いく is sometimes pronounces as ゆく, but the meaning remains the same.

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