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私についてきなさい。

彼は悪天候をついて来た。

I first thought it could be an intransitive verb but seeing that you can use を as well confuses me about the usage and what 付いてくる really means. I originally understood it as ''to follow'' and with the ni particle it directed the target of the destination.

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The つく in the first example is the 付く you're familiar with, which is an intransitive verb meaning something like 離れない状態になる at its core.

The つく in the second example is a different word that just happens to look the same in kana. In kanji, it would be written like 突く or 衝く. It's a transitive verb, and its core meaning is something like 勢いよく刺したり、強く当てたりする

By extension, it can also be used to mean "to brave" some bad situation, to carry out some action despite adverse circumstances.

So 彼は悪天候をついて来た means "He braved the bad weather and came."

As such, that explains the use of を in the second sentence. It was a different (transitive) verb, and your understanding of the intransitive つく is probably fine.

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  • Makes sense. I guess reading more would probably be the best option than to overthink the multiple usages since the words could be different depending on the kanji usage. Thanks for the answer Commented May 19 at 7:37
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    Yeah, that will expose you to more things, and it's just a good idea when you come across something that you have trouble understanding, ask "could this be a different word written the same way" or "could this be a fixed expression that needs to be looked up with the paired word." Both of those will solve a lot of headaches quickly.
    – Leebo
    Commented May 19 at 7:46

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