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Sunday, October 16, 2016

ittekimasu 行ってきます

In Japanese, ittekimasu 行ってきます, meaning literally "to go and come back," is an expression used to say goodbye by someone leaving home to go school, work, etc. Whoever remains home bids farewell saying itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい.

When the person returns, they say tadaima ただいま, and are greeted by okaeri おかえり.

Meaning

The phrase itte-kimasu 行ってきます is composed by two verbs:

  • iku
    行く
    To go.
  • itte is the te-form of iku.
  • kimasu
    来ます
    To come.

The non-polite variant would be:

  • itte-kuru
    行ってくる
    To go and come back.

The phrase literary says what the person will do. If they'll leave for school, for example, they'll go to school, then they'll come back later: itte-kuru.

The phrase doesn't necessarily mean "to leave home and then come back." It means "to go somewhere, and then come back," so it can also be used by someone leaving other places, like a classroom.

  • {chotto mi ni} itte kuru
    ちょっと見に行ってくる
    [I] will go {see for a bit}, then come back.

Someone bidding farewell with itterasshai is literally saying:

This ~te-kuru ~てくる can be used in various other phrases related to going somewhere and coming back later.

  • dekakeru
    出かける
    To leave home to go somewhere.
  • dekakete-kuru
    出かけてくる
    To leave home to go somewhere, and then come back.
  • kau
    買う
    To buy.
  • katte-kuru
    買ってくる
    To go buy something, then come back.

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