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I've been reading a lot of graded readers lately (targetted at JLPT N4/N3 level). I recognize that these are not "pure authentic native Japanese", but I also don't believe they are ungrammatical.

One thing that has been very conspicuous is the use of verbs of movement (eg 歩く、走る、etc) in compounds with 行く and 来る. In fact, this almost seems more common than using the verb by itself. As an example, a sentence might read

あの人は歩いて。。。yada yada。。。行きました。

Is there a major difference in meaning or usage between 歩いて行く and 歩く? Is there a stylistic difference between the two? Which would be most common in day-to-day conversations?

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  • Just go back to protecting the queen, Glenn. No one in Guardia speaks Japanese anyway.
    – istrasci
    Jul 24 at 1:29
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    @istrasci would that be 帰れ or 帰っていけ ;) Jul 24 at 8:07
  • @JansthcirlU Maybe かえるがよい would be best.
    – istrasci
    Jul 24 at 21:54
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あの人は歩いて行きました。 The person went there on foot. 歩いてis one of ways how the person went there like バスで(by bus).

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You can stick to 歩いていく in most cases (according to my reflection for a few minutes). At least, I don't think there are cases where using 歩いていく instead of 歩く can be a source of major confusion.

Some examples:

  • 駅に歩いていく means I walk to the station; 駅に歩く is not really grammatical.
  • 駅まで歩いた means I walked up to the station. This implies 'I reached the station'; 駅まで歩いて行った sounds more like 'I started walking towards the station'.
  • 山で歩いた means I walked in the mountain (for hiking); 山で歩いて行った sounds strange (a natural response would be Where?)
  • 健康のため毎日歩く means I do some walking every day for keeping good health; 健康のため毎日歩いていく sounds strange (again Where?); 健康のため毎日駅まで歩く/歩いていく are both possible (the destination is indicated)

So overall, if there is a destination, it is safer to use 歩いていく. Using 歩く implies the action of walking (instead of using other transportation) is emphasized.

Please note that the distinction is subtle, and there could be cases where the examples above(where both are possible) mean the same thing.

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