Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 4: 12/18


To do something in advance


Verb[て]+ おく
Verb[] +とく


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About ておく

When the conjunction particle is followed by the う-Verb ()く in Japanese, it regularly has the meaning of 'to do (A) in advance'. ()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)'.
  • ()(まえ)食器(しょっき)(あら)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)(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)()(みが)ておく虫歯(むしば)(ふせ)ます
    If you brush your teeth everyday, you will be able to prevent cavities. (That may or may not come in the future)
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.
  • (つくえ)(うえ)明日(あした)旅行(りょこう)必要(ひつよう)パスポート()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)(みず)()どく
    I am going to fill this thermos up with water in advance. (So that it is available when I am thirsty)




    I bought juice (in advance) for the party tomorrow.


    Will you make tomorrow's bento (in advance) for me tonight?


    I will do a little research in advance.


    Before going on a trip I will go to the bathroom in advance.


    Before returning to America, I will change my yen into dollars in advance.

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ておく – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (37 in total)

  • Superpnut


    @nekoyama @EbonyMidget
    You both have very cool names, almost as cool as my username.
    Thank you for explaining that to me I wasn’t sure. I did think it’d just make the sentence directly incorrect but I wanted to check with people

  • HaroldoNVU


  • ixxie


    Hello, I’m really struggling to get this grammar nailed down.
    This is the example sentence:

    Could I have two of the colas that were being chilled (in advance) in the refrigerator?

    How do I know which form to conjugate first for the answer? Does ている or ておく get added to 冷やす first?

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