Saturday, July 20, 2019


WIP : this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, i-nuki kotoba い抜き言葉, "い-removed speech," refers to a way of talking that omits the i い at the start of auxiliary verbs attached to te-form, contracting te-iru ている into te-ru てる, te-iku ていく into te-ku てく, de-iru でいる into de-ru でる, and de-iku でいく into de-ku でく, and so on.

For example: miteru 見てる is a contraction of mite-iru 見てる, "to be seeing."


To summarize, the patterns are:
  • ~teru ~てる
    Comes from ~te-iru ~てる.
    • ~te-ta ~てた
      From ~te-ita ~てた, the past form.
    • ~te-nai ~てない
      From te-inai ~てない, the negative form.
    • ~te-masu ~てます
      From ~te-imasu ~てます, the polite form.
    • ~te-mashita ~てました
      From ~te-imashita ~てました, the polite past form.
  • ~teku ~てく
    Comes from ~te-iku ~てく.
    • ~te-tta ~てった
      From ~te-itta ~てった, the past form.
    • ~tekanai ~てかない
      From ~te-ikanai ~てかない, the negative form.
    • ~te-kimasu ~てきます
      From ~te-ikimasu ~てきます, the polite form.
    • ~te-kimashita ~てました
      From ~te-ikimashita ~てきました, the past polite form.

The te-forms of some verbs end in de で instead, so these patterns also exist:
  • ~deru ~でる
    • ~deta ~でた
    • ~denai ~でない
    • ~demasu ~でます
    • ~demashita ~でました
  • ~deku でく
    • ~detta ~でった
    • ~dekanai ~でかない
    • ~dekimasu ~できます
    • ~dekimashita ~できました

There are a few things worth noting.

The difference between ~deta ~でた, "has been," and ~detta ~でった, "has gone," is just a small tsu.
  • ita いた
    Was [somewhere].
  • itta いった
    Went [somewhere].

The contraction ~te-nai ~てない is homonymous with another ~te-nai which means the opposite of ~te-aru ~てある instead.

In particular, tanonde-aru 頼んである means something "has been requested," so tanonde-nai 頼んでない means "[it] has not" or "[you] have not requested [it]." These also resemble the copula de aru である, "is," and dewa nai ではない, "is not."

The contraction ~te-kimasu ~てきます is homonymous with another ~te-kimasu which means literally the opposite thing.
  • iku 行く
    ikimasu 行きます
    To go.
  • kuru 来る
    kimasu 来ます
    To come.

As you can see above, iku implies a movement outwards, away, while kuru implies a movement inwards, toward near. The kuru is an irregular verb and its polite form is kimasu, while for iku the polite form is ikimasu.
  • hashitte-ikimashita
    To run-and-go.
    To go running. To move away from here by running.
  • hashitte-kimashita
    To run-and-come.
    To come running. To move toward near here by running.

If the i い is dropped in ikimashita, it becomes indistinguishable from kimashita, which means the opposite thing. Fortunately, you can probably tell which one it is from context, and these two auxiliary verbs don't really matter much compared to the main verb they're suffixed to.

(in fact, iku can so easily replace kuru that I'm not even really sure -te-kimasu is really a contraction of te-ikimasu and not just te-kuru in polite form. But there's a source that says it is, using kitekimasu 着てきます, "wear and go," as example, so I guess it is.[い抜き言葉」はカジュアルな場面でのみOK -, accessed 2019-07-21])


Like most contractions, the i-nuki kotoba are considered casual speech, so it's advised to be avoided in formal situations.

In manga, it wouldn't be used in text balloons that contain narrations, for example, assuming the narrator is speaking in a serious or formal tone.

Like other contractions, it can and often will appear in text balloons contain the characters' speech.


For reference, some examples of i-nuki kotoba 居抜き言葉.
  • miteru 見てる
    mite-iru 見て
    mitemasu 見てます
    mite-imasu 見てます
    To seeing-be.
    To be seeing.
  • miteta 見てた
    mite-ita 見て
    mitemashita 見てました
    mite-imashita 見てました
    To have seen.
  • kieteku 消えてく
    kiete-iku 消えて
    kietekimasu 消えてきます
    kiete-ikimasu 消えてきます
    To disappear-go.
    To be fading away.
  • kietetta 消えてった
    kiete-itta 消えてった
    kiete-kimashita 消えてきました
    kiete-ikimashita 消えてきました
    To have faded away.
  • yonderu 呼んでる
    yonde-iru 呼んで
    yondemasu 呼んでます
    yonde-imasu 呼んでます
    To calling-be.
    To be calling.
  • yondeta 呼んでた
    yonde-ita 呼んで
    yondekimasu 呼んできます
    yonde-ikimasu 呼んできます
    To have called.
  • shindeku 死んでく
    shinde-iku 死んで
    shinde-kimasu 死んできます
    shinde-ikimasu 死んできます
    To die-go.
    To be dying. To go on dying.
    To pass away.
  • shindetta 死んでった
    shinde-itta 死んでった
    shinde-kimashita 死んできました
    shinde-ikimashita 死んできました
    To have gone die.
    To have passed away.

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