I'm trying to understand the grammar of 「出{で}て」 in 「出{で}て来{き}ました」. Why is 「て」 used here?

  • 2
    There are several uses. Do you have any examples?
    – Tim
    Sep 28 '14 at 14:51
  • For example, while using mobile phone, something appears on the screen. And overall meaning is not very clear to me. Oct 1 '14 at 11:12
  • Yes, but how are you trying to use it. Your phone's input method will show you lots of things, but it's not necessarily suggesting them to you.
    – virmaior
    Oct 1 '14 at 13:26
  • No, no, it is just an example - I mean I saw one broadcast on NHK about how to use mobiles phones, and when the teacher said how to do something, the learner saw/noticed some action on mobile phone - maybe some window opened - and then said 「出て来ました」 Oct 1 '14 at 13:39

て is used for runnig on two verbs. In this case 出る and 来る are run on, so it become 出て来る. This usage is often used.

For example, 走る and 行く are run on, so it become 走って行く.

  • And why 走って行く and not 走て行く? Sep 28 '14 at 9:03
  • 走って行く is the euphonic changes of 走りて行く. Sep 28 '14 at 9:12
  • Could you explain the meaning as well? I can understand it, but not very clearly. Oct 1 '14 at 11:15
  • I run over to the school. 私は学校まで走って行く。 Oct 1 '14 at 23:13
  • 1
    Can you understand the difference between "go" and "come"? 出て来る is " it is out from something and come." Oct 2 '14 at 4:34

For example, "to leave home" can translate into 家を出る and "to come" is 来る. Then, "to leave home and come" translates to 家を出て来る.


The ~て form roughly corresponds to the concept of the gerund from English. It is a non-finite conjugation that makes the verb dependent on some subsequent predicate to properly describe when and how the action is happening. In particular, it has a few special usages with various auxiliary verbs.

The main point is that ~て strips a verb of any temporal placement, thus priming it for easy manipulation by other verbs.

edit: One major class of special usages is the grammatical aspects, ~ている・~ておく・~てしまう・~てある・~ていく・~てくる. Depending on the context, your ~てきました is either using the ~てくる aspect or using くる literally to mean "to come". The precise meaning would depend on the context.

Either way, て fulfills the same role of stripping 出る of its tense and looking to くる to decide what its new tense/aspect is.

  • You have misread the question. OP did not ask about 教えてください. Sep 28 '14 at 17:49

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