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 having the verb 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 applies to other stative verbs as well?)




私:「ううん、まだいていない。(I am going there now.)」

How should I translate the statement in bracket? 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")?

P.S. sorry if my Japanese sounds weird. Still learning the language.


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?

  • 2
    Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by 「もうそこにいた?」「ううん、まだいていない。」. Maybe you meant 「もう着いた?」「ううん、まだ着いてない/今向かってる」? (Btw... 行く conjugates to いった, いって. いる(居る) conjugates to いた, いて.) – Chocolate Mar 20 at 9:44
  • @Chocolate I meant to say "Are you there yet?" "no, I haven't been there yet, ...", using いる in the sense of existing there for both いた and いていない btw I see that you translated that part to "向かってる", I feel like this is more like "I'm heading there". I agree this would be a grammatical translation for this situation, but what if I want to insist on translating the progressive tense for these verbs (行く、来る、帰る, etc.)? – nayfaan Mar 20 at 10:01
  • Oh.. I thought you meant to type 「もうそこに[行]{い} た?」「ううん、まだ[行]{い} ていない。」, not 「もうそこに[居]{い}た?」「ううん、まだ[居]{い}ていない」(←We don't say 居ていない in Standard Japanese) – Chocolate Mar 20 at 15:00
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    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 at 1:06
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    @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. – Eiríkr Útlendi Mar 21 at 6:28

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 at 13:09
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    @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 at 13:21
  • thanks, that makes so much sense! – nayfaan Mar 21 at 17:22

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