Can you explain me the difference between these two sentences :



  • Does this answer your question? Difference between -ていく and -てくる Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 19:27
  • it's just the ordinary te-form of する, followed by 来た. There's a bit of idiom behind it, but I think really you understand it already if you recognize the verb and are familiar with te-form. Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 22:10

2 Answers 2


In English, the difference is like this:

  • 誰かが電話した = "Someone made a phone call".
  • 誰かが電話してきた = "Someone called me" or "Someone called us".

In other words, the latter signifies the call was towards me (or us).

(-て)きた is the past form of (-て)くる, which is one of the Japanese subsidiary verbs. It expresses the associated action "comes towards the observer (physically or psychologically)". English speakers prefer personal pronouns like "I" or "me", but Japanese prefers this type of expressions to express the "direction" of an action. You have to get used to this.

See also:


In the first sentence you just state that the person did a telephone call. In the second sentence the て来る(て来た is the past tense) is depending on the context "Up to now" or "begin to", "come about".

It could mean: Somebody came to calling the phone. Or "Somebody begin to phone call"

㊦ 来る・くる (2) https://itazuraneko.neocities.org/grammar/dojg/dojgall

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