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Sorry for the beginner question. I'm on Genki chapter 20 and one question asks to translate "he did not bring" with honorific language. The answer the book gives is "持ってきていらっしゃらなかった". I would have thought that this meant "was not bringing" and I still don't understand why it doesn't lol

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    Would you always understand 持ってきていなかった as "was not bringing"? If that's the case, this question is not really about いらっしゃる.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:49
  • @aguijonazo I thought maybe it was one of the cases where ている refers to the result of doing something rather than being doing it, but it seemed like 持ってきてる did mean to be bringing. Is it different in the negative?
    – juan jose
    Apr 6, 2023 at 22:53
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    持ってきている may refer to a resultant state as well as an ongoing action. Consider for example 今日は弁当を持ってきている said at school or work.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 6, 2023 at 23:00
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    At least the negative form is used more frequently for the former than the latter. You don't talk about an ongoing action that is or was not happening very often, right? In any case, the question is not specific to the honorific 〜いらっしゃる.
    – aguijonazo
    Apr 6, 2023 at 23:16

1 Answer 1

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First of all, you have to understand the following two points:

  • -ている has two functions, "progressive" and "resultant state" (see this if you need a refresher).
  • いらっしゃる is the honorific verb for all of いる, 行く and 来る.

Therefore, one honorific version of 持ってくる is 持っていらっしゃる, and you can make this simply by replacing くる with いらっしゃる. Its negative-past version is 持っていらっしゃらなかった. Another honorific version of 持ってくる is お持ちになる, which can somehow mean "to bring (here)" or "to take (to somewhere)" without explicitly saying くる or いく. So if you answered 持っていらっしゃらなかった or お持ちにならなかった, rest assured that these are perfectly correct honorific translations of "[He] did not bring [it]".

However, 持ってきていらっしゃらなかった is also a correct phrase. In this case, いらっしゃる is the honorific version of いる (because there is already くる).

The difference between 持っていらっしゃらなかった and 持ってきていらっしゃらなかった is basically the same difference between 持ってこなかった and 持ってきていなかった. This may seem confusing, but both of these are valid translations of "[He] did not bring [it]", and are used more of less interchangeably to describe a past event. This use of -ていない is a tricky topic but has little to do with honorifics themselves. Please read: Why is a verb in the past (た形) contradicted with ~ていない?

Finally, 持ってきていらっしゃらなかった can possibly have a progressive meaning ("He was not bringing it (on his way)") depending on the context, but it's not the primary interpretation of this phrase when there is no context.

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