I recently learned the phrase "Itte kimasu". It means "I will go, I will come back".
Now, that looks and sounds fairly trivial, yes?
(It does to me)
Here's the thing ... I'd like to break this one down to show just how much goes into understanding this seemingly trivial phrase. This will do a pretty decent job of showing what my homeschooler and I have been learning over the past few weeks.
When you're using two successive predicates in Japanese (verbs, i-adjectives, or na-adjectives), the first (N-1) of these need to be converted to their "te-" form. So that 1st verb in this phrase must be in said form.
It might be worth a quick grammar refresher and looking at the definition of "predicate":
The first verb is "ikimasu" (to go). This is also known as "iku" (in it's dictionary present tense/familiar form). E.g:
To convert it to it's "te-" form, start with the
dictionary past tense "itta" (to have gone),
and the [loose] conversion rules appear to be:
(a) take any trailing "ta" and convert it to "te"
(b) take any trailing "da" and convert it to "de".
The "kimasu" part is formal present tense of "to come", usually used like so:
The tense of the last verb determines the tense of all prior verbs (read: "te-" verbs have no tense). In order to change this to "I have gone, I have come back", it would look like so:
In this next example, the entire meaning of this sentence changes in three ways, as dictated by the tense of the last verb:
As a huge bonus, to say "Please __(verb)___", it's just the te-form of the verb + "kudasai", e.g.:
And as another huge bonus, "May I ___(verb)___", it's just the "te-" of the verb + "iidesuka", e.g.:
And the last huge bonus, to specify the progressive form of the verb, it's just the "te-" of the verb + "imasu", e.g.: