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What is the つく used at the end of this sentence?

友人の仕事は危険で、汚くて、おまけに きついらしい。ちなみにそういう仕事は俗に「3K」と呼ばれている。要するに「き」、すなわち「K」が3つつくというわけだ

My friend's work is dangerous, dirty and tough. It is incidentally the kind of work referred to as 3K because, without going into detail it has the characteristics of the three きs or Ks.

(The content of this sentence provide provide challenges for translation but I want to focus on the つく, which could be a big subject in itself but to make this question striaght forward, I wondered, is it 付く as in the following example?:

この書棚には二つ引き出しが付いている|This bookcase has two drawers.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The rough meaning of つく in the two sentences is the same, but they're used in slightly different ways.

In この書棚には二つ引き出しが付いている the perfective aspect is used. The ている form of つく, a change-of-state verb, expresses the "state of having attached", i.e. "has". Note that この書棚には二つ引き出しが付く would change the meaning.

In 「K」が3つつく, the simple form is used, i.e. the general/habitual aspect. This aspect is often used when つく is used to mean "The word has the letter X", e.g. "knife には k がつきます".

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What is the つく used at the end of this sentence?

Roughly, to come with, to have, to possess… The sentence says that the "3K jobs", are those that bear the three "ki{ken,tanai,tui}".

I also think that the meaning is the same as in the other sentence, although I'm not sure you'd use the kanji 付く in the first one. There might be a slight nuance, but I'm not 100% sure.

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Yes, I think that it is fair to say that つく in the first example is used in the same meaning as つく in the second example.

I think that you are confused because you are assuming that き or “k” describes something about danger, dirtiness, and toughness. No, it refers to the words themselves: けん (kiken), たない (kitanai), and つい (kitsui) all begin with き, or with “k” if written in romaji. That is, all of these words have き (or k) in them.

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Thanks Tsuyoshi –  Tim Aug 22 '12 at 10:51

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