Why should we say 応えられなく_なって_きて and not 応えられなくて_きて? I have been told that 応えられなくてきて is not correct by a japanese friend of mine but the explications were... light.

Thank you

  • While there is a [応]{こた}える, you probably mean [答]{こた}える which is much more common.... (the meanings are non-identical). – virmaior Jan 22 '16 at 14:28
  • 応える means "repay" and 答える means "answer". – Yuuichi Tam Jan 22 '16 at 14:36
  • Sorry, i didn't post the original sentence. 彼女の気持ちに応えられなくなってきて、別れたほうがいいと思いました。 Is the kanji right? – SmallPox Jan 22 '16 at 15:07
  • 1
    Yes, it is right. – Yuuichi Tam Jan 22 '16 at 15:11
  • @SmallPox What would you imagine 応えられなくてきて should mean, I wonder? – broken laptop Jan 22 '16 at 16:37

I'm not sure exactly where your doubt lies, but:

  1. 応えられなくてきて
    (I) come without being able to live up to it, so...

  2. 応えられないできて
    (I) have never been able to live up to it so far, so...

  3. 応えられなくなってきて
    (I) become less and less able to live up to it, so...

Among them I think only #3 is suitable for your sentence.


  • 「live up to 人's expectation/ideal/standard」 とかだと「人の期待に応える」とかの意味になるけど、「live up to 人」だと「~にかなう」とか「その人に匹敵するくらい立派になる」とかになると思いますので 「live up to (her」の後に何か入れたほうがいいかも・・・ – Chocolate Jan 30 '16 at 9:33
  • @choco ありがとうございます>< Live up to choco-san できるよう努力します… – broken laptop Jan 30 '16 at 9:51

Because なってくる is one phrase.

応えない(I don't repay), 応えられない(I can't repay), 応えられなくなる, 応えられなくなってくる.


I don't know the translation of last two phrase in English.

  • 応えられなくなる "I become unable to repay", 応えられなくなってくる "I am becoming unable to repay / I am becoming less able to repay", ・・・とかでどうでしょうか・・・(まわりくどいけど) – Chocolate Jan 23 '16 at 8:18
  • I think they are good translations but I am not English native speaker. I want to ask if these translations are natural for them. – Yuuichi Tam Jan 23 '16 at 9:15

応えられなくてきて means "I came here because I couldn't reply, and...". 応えられなくなってきて means "I have (gradually) become unable to reply, and...".

Since 応えられない is an adjective (a verb conjugated to an adjective), which stands for a static state unlike verbs, which can stand for changes, combination with …てくる can't express gradual changes or accumulation.

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