This is a fork from the question What's the progressive form of 来る, 帰る and 行く.

So the question explained that when ている is conjugated with these movement verbs (or other verbs that are more or less instantaneous, causing state changes), it does not translate into the progressive form of the verb, rather than the subject now being in the state of the verb having happened. (Correct me if my understanding is incorrect)

So my question now is, how do I conjugate them if I really want to convey the progressive form? For this discussion, let's narrow it down to movement verbs like 来る, 帰る, and 行く. (Or does the same apply to other stative verbs as well?)



私:「ううん、まだ。I am going there now.」

How should I translate the statement in English? Is there a way to translate the progressive tense of such movement verbs (In this case I think it should be 行く?) into the progressive sense literally as we have in English -ing, without changing it into other phrases with similar meaning (e.g. translating it to something like "I'm on my way there")?

EDIT: P.S. the sentence in the bracket is not the translation of the dialogue in Japanese, it is meant to be the second sentence after the first sentence, i.e. the sentence which I wanted to translate.

EDIT: Also related: When is Vている the continuation of action and when is it the continuation of state?

  • what do you say instead of 居{い}ていない?
    – nayfaan
    Mar 20, 2019 at 23:59
  • 3
    We don't use the ~ている form (progressive form) with the verb いる, i.e. we don't say いている, いていない, いていた, etc. For "(Someone) is already (somewhere)" you'd say (もう)いる, 来ている, 着いている etc., for "(Someone) is not (somewhere) yet", (まだ)いない, 来ていない, 着いていない etc. depending on the situation.
    – chocolate
    Mar 21, 2019 at 1:06
  • ah so looks like いる is an exception for the ~まだ~ていない format they teach in introduction Japanese?
    – nayfaan
    Mar 21, 2019 at 1:28
  • 1
    @nayfaan -- Hint: the part after the ~て is いる. So if you're not there yet, you're just まだいない. Saying いている・いていない is like saying "I am being / I am not being" in English. It's technically grammatically correct, but it is not an accepted construction. People might guess what you mean, but it sure sounds funny. Mar 21, 2019 at 6:28

1 Answer 1


The simplest (and the most natural) solution is to choose a safer "continuous-action" verb:

  • 向{む}かってるよ。
  • 移動{いどう}しています。 (businesslike)

These normally have the progressive meaning, "is coming (now)". If you didn't know the verb 向{む}かう, this is the time to learn it.

If you insist on using 行く/来る/帰る, note that these are not 100% "instant change-in-state" verbs. Their ている-form can have a progressive meaning if you use it in a right context with right modifiers such as 今.

  • 彼はこちらに来ていますので、もう少し待ってください。
  • 今、電車で家に帰ってるよ。

And you can use ところ to make the progressive meaning more explicit. The question you linked explains how to use ところ well.

There are times when you want to take a change-in-state verb and "zoom in" on the point when the change takes place to treat it like a continuous-action verb. This is what ~ところ is for.

  • 彼はこちらに来ているところです。 He is coming here (now).
  • 家に帰っているところです。 I'm on my way home.
  • So from that same post, quote > Naturally, ところ can also mean "place" < Do you have any idea how does the word for place come to modify the ている-form to allow it to "zoom in" on the change point to allow this function of the verb? Are there any reasons to this (linguistically?)
    – nayfaan
    Mar 21, 2019 at 13:09
  • 1
    @nayfaan See japanese.stackexchange.com/q/23738/5010 . Maybe "point" is similar in that it has many abstract meanings other than physical place.
    – naruto
    Mar 21, 2019 at 13:21

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