I've been watching からかい上手の高木さん and in episode 2 Takagi says this: 泳いでこよっかな


For context this is the what she says right before this line:


I'm having trouble with analyzing the sentence. It is clear to me that she is basically saying "Shall I go swimming?" in some self-directed rhetorical question but what I can't figure out is the nuance of using こよう(or its contracted form here with かな, こよっかな).

From what I read on Tofugo about using 来る with て-form and from the discussion on Wanikani's forums I get two different explanations (I'm using parenthesis for emphasizing the nuance in Japanese that is mostly lost when translated into natural English):

  1. てくる with a movement verb means that something is coming your way. That would mean that swimming is coming Takagi's way? As in "Shall I go (have some) swimming (in my way/direction)" Seems a little weird.
  2. The use of てくる here is like that of 行ってくる so the nuance would be that she saying "Let's go (out) swimming (and come back later)" which makes more sense since this is a class so she'll swim and then she'll go to the next class\recreation\lunch\whatever is next on her agenda for that day however it still feels weird.

While it is possible that two different nuances exist for using てくる, which the native speaker will tell apart through context, I find both explanations somewhat unsatisfying. I'd appreciate it if someone could verify what is the nuance of using てくる here and in general if both sources are right or if one of them is wrong.


  • 1
    It never means "swimming is coming." Someone comes swimming. And that someone is clearly the speaker herself in this case. But she won't "come" where she already is unless she goes somewhere first.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 10 at 10:00
  • @aguijonazo Maybe my wording was a bit off but what I meant is that the nuance is that she wonders if she shall have some swimming in her very near future or something like that. Commented Feb 10 at 16:41
  • No, it doesn't work that way.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 10 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


The second interpretation is correct. This (-て)くる means "and come back", and it's the same くる as in 行ってくる, 買ってくる, etc. Here, "swimming is coming" is not a valid interpretation because 泳いでこよう is in the volitional form, so the implied subject is undoubtedly 私.

Here, she said 泳いでこよう rather than 泳ぎに行こう. In Japanese, ~てくる is commonly used when going out for a short time, such as for shopping, and then returning. While 泳ぎに行こう is more natural for a proper travel plan, 泳いでこよう would be more preferred in Japanese when one goes to the pool casually, similarly to going to a nearby convenience store.

  • Thanks, that's interesting. Do you happen to know if 泳いでいこう would have a similar meaning? Or would it indicate that she's going swim for a long period of time? Like if she was going to swim from a sinking ship to shore or something like that. Commented Feb 10 at 22:21
  • 1
    @UriGreenberg ~していこう is "Let's ~ and then go", but in English it's more like "Let's ~while we're here", "Let's ~ before leaving" or "Let's drop by and ~". You may say 泳いでいこう before leaving a hotel with a pool, or when you incidentally find a pool on your way to another destination. It indicates it won't be a long stay.
    – naruto
    Commented Feb 12 at 2:54

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