I came across すすんで行く and さいて行く in a vocabulary list, and it was immediately obvious that there was probably some sort of grammatical construct involving て行く that was in use here. I don't really know what this grammatical construct means though, and it's apparently something different than just compounding two arbitrary verbs together with base te.

A quick Google search brought this lesson up, and he starts to explain what the construct means (as well as て来る), but he doesn't do a very good job of it. He also starts to deviate from the special grammatical construct towards just the base te verb compounding, and many of the other search results are focusing almost exclusively on the compounding.

I vaguely get the notion of this construct meaning to get into the state of doing something (て行く) or to have come into the state of doing something (て来る), but I really don't understand it.

Could somebody please explain this? I'm mainly wondering about the general grammar being used here, but I also kind of wonder about how it applies to these two words, since they're apparently decent examples. Thank you.

  • 3
    Oh, okay. Have you had a chance to look at our existing question on 〜ていく and 〜てくる yet?
    – user1478
    Jul 28, 2014 at 18:03
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    By さいて行く, do you mean 咲いていく?
    – user1016
    Jul 29, 2014 at 16:43
  • 5
    It looks pretty strange to write the main verbs in kana and the auxiliary verbs in kanji. That is just the opposite of what the better writers do.
    – user4032
    Aug 1, 2014 at 15:08
  • 1
    when rifling around to be understand when to use kana vs. kanji on ~くる and ~いく I ran across some interesting claims about when the ~来る and ~行く make sense -- when they refer specifically to physical motion.
    – virmaior
    Sep 28, 2014 at 4:03
  • 1
    @virmaior Yes, that is when they are not 補助動詞 but are used as regular verbs with their literal meaning. (It makes sense to use the kanji when the meaning of the word matches the meaning expressed by the kanji.)
    – user1478
    Sep 28, 2014 at 5:55

2 Answers 2


The meaning of て行く is that something is happening now and continuing into the future. So すすんで行く would be an advance that has begun and will continue into the future, or a continual state of advancement. And with a quick check on Google Translate, さいて行く is "beginning to bloom". So your definition of "getting into the state of doing X" would be applicable in this case.

  • I guess て来る is something that was continuing to happen before and that has already finished then? Is that the gist of て行く and て来る? Jul 29, 2014 at 17:25
  • 1
    Problem is that 「~~てくる」 also describes something that is happening and continuing into the future. From this answer, I cannot tell if you really know the difference.
    – user4032
    Aug 1, 2014 at 15:12

すすんでいく can mean "to willingly go" or "to keep progressing".

As for さいて行く, for example, "氷を割いて行く" means "to break the ice and go" or "to go breaking the ice".

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