Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 4: 12/18

~ておく
to do something in advance

Structure
Casual
Formal
Verb[て]+ おく
Verb[] +とく
Verb[て]+ おきます
Verb[] + ときます
Details
Register Standard
使用域 一般
置く
Information
When the conjunction particle is followed by the う-Verb 置(お)く in Japanese, it regularly has the meaning of ‘to do (A) in advance’. 置(お)く as a verb itself means ‘to place something’ (down), but also has the nuance ‘to leave something alone’, or to ‘drop something’ (like a topic). In this way, ておく can be thought of as meaning ‘to do (A) and leave it (until later)’.
  • 寝(ね)前(まえ)に食器(しょっき)洗(あら)っておく
    Before sleeping, I will wash the dishes in advance. (So that it does not need to be done later)
  • あなた財布(さいふ)鞄(かばん)入れておきます
    I am going to put your wallet in your bag. (So that you won't forget it later)
  • 予約(よやく)ておく
    I am going to make a reservation in advance. (So that the bookings don’t fill up while we wait)
When using ておく, the ‘future event’ that the (A) action is being done for may be something that is coming soon, or may be something that the speaker doesn’t want to ever come. Due to this, ておく is also regularly used when the speaker is doing something specifically to prevent another thing from happening.
  • 毎日(まいにち)歯(は)磨(みが)いておく、虫歯(むしば)防(ふせ)ぎます
    If you brush your teeth everyday, you will be able to prevent cavities. (That may or may not come in the future)
Caution
ておく is sometimes contracted to とく (or どく in verbs where would usually be said as ). Although this is not excessively common in conversation, it is very common in drama, manga, and similar media.
  • 机(つくえ)上(うえ)に明日(あした)旅行(りょこう)必要(ひつよう)パスポート置(お)いとく
    I am going to leave the passport we need for the trip tomorrow on top of the table in advance. (So that I won’t forget it later)
  • 水筒(すいとう)水(みず)汲(く)んどく
    I am going to fill this thermos up with water in advance. (So that it is available when I am thirsty)
Slow Male
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明日(あした)パーティーためジュース買(か)っておきました
I bought juice (in advance) for the party tomorrow.
今夜(こんや)明日(あした)お弁当(べんとう)作(つく)っておいてくれますか
Will you make tomorrow's bento (in advance) for me tonight?
ちょっと調(しら)べておきます
I will do a little research in advance.
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Books
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 55
みんなの日本語 II
Page 36 [CH 30]
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 80
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 357
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 120