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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…If ~てくる(~te kuru) means “to begin to,” what’s the difference between ~てくる(~te kuru) and ~し始める(~shi hajimeru)?
~てくる(~te kuru) and ~し始める(~shi hajimeru) both relate to something starting, so how do you know which one to use?
The verb, ~てくる(~te kuru) has the verb 来る(kuru), “to come,” in it. That means that, while it may translate as “start” the nuance is that the action was not occurring in the past and essentially came to the present, and focuses on the change in state. For example, 雨が降ってきた(Ame ga futte kita.) can be translated as, “It started raining,” but the imagery is more like, it wasn’t raining in the past, and the rain “came” to the present. So, the focus is the change from not raining in the past to raining now.
On the other hand, with ~し始める(~shi hajimeru), the focus is on the starting point of the action and the past is not in the picture. It also implies that the action will continue for some time. For example, if we use the similar sentence, 雨が降り始めた(Ame ga furi hajimeta) it would also translate as, “It started raining,” but, the imagery would only focus on when the rain started and the likelihood of it continuing.
Let’s go through some examples so you can learn how to use ~てくる(~te kuru) and ~し始める(~shi hajimeru) correctly.
First, let’s do an example with ~てくる(~te kuru)--
最近、寒くなってきました。(Saikin, samuku natte kimashita.)
This phrase means, “It started to become colder./It’s been getting cold(er).” In this case, we can’t use ~し始める(~shi hajimeru) because it’s not talking about the starting point of the action. Rather, it’s talking about a change in state starting in the past.
Now, let’s do an example with ~し始める(~shi hajimeru) --
明日、論文を書き始めます。(Ashita, ronbun o kaki hajimemasu.)
This phrase means, “I'll start writing the thesis tomorrow.” Here, you are focusing on the start of the action of “writing,” which will happen tomorrow. That’s why, in this case, you need to use ~し始める(~shi hajimeru).
The key to understanding certain expressions in Japanese is point of view, as well as focus. In order to understand the difference between similar expressions, grasping the concept and building an image is helpful.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 14th, 2017 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 20th, 2021 at 10:39 AM
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As you say, the explanation might be confusing.

し in し始める is masu-stem of the verb する, the representative verb.

So you should change this し to masu-stem of any other verb, like 書き or 話し.

It would be clear we say "[masu-stem of a verb] + 始める" instead of し始める.

Please let us know if you have any further question.



Team JapanesePod101.com

July 9th, 2021 at 03:24 AM
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I cannot quite understand why -し始める rather than just 始める...?

From the examples in the lesson it's not obvious where the shows up, eg 明日、論文を書き始めます.

「-し」は どこですか?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 26th, 2018 at 10:53 AM
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Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com



Team JapanesePod101.com

December 5th, 2018 at 05:12 AM
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 27th, 2017 at 09:08 PM
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Literally, たすかりました is correct translation, so yes you did well. :sunglasses::thumbsup:

In a natural Japanese, though, we might use たすかりました more in the sense of being saved

when you were in a difficult situation. For that reason, we often need to know what was the help.

For instance, imagine I answered to your question to which you needed to know the answer because

you have to submit Japanese report to the school, you can then say


In this case, I know you needed the answer in order to submit the report on time, and I actually helped you.

So, when you say たすかりました, it makes totally sense to me.

Regarding the pronunciation, Japanese pronunciation is clearer: ta su ka ri ma shi ta.

Probaby 'u' in su will be dropped in natural way, and it could sound like 'tas kari mash(i) ta'.

When a lesson was helpful or useful, I think we'd probably just say thanks, it was easy to understand

or it was the information you wanted. We simply express differently in different languages. :wink:

Hope this helps!

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

March 15th, 2017 at 10:34 PM
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Thanks very much I found this quite helpful :D

たすかりました - Can you correct this for me as well please, When checking with jisho.org to make sure I got it right, I can't find what I was taught in one of my courses i'm doing, I'm trying to say thanks you've helped me essentially, Unfortnately they where using a teaching method that doesn't teach you the exact pronunciation, so if it helps they where saying, task carry mashta so the best I could get from that was what i've typed about lol

Hope i'm close though :)

Thanks again