Today’s article is about the difference between 行きます/いきます/Ikimasu and 来ます/きます/Kimasu. In English, 行きます is translated to “go” and 来ます is translated to “come” but each of them does not mean exactly the same thing as the English word “go” or “come” respectively. The word "come" is sometimes used in English to describe a situation where the word "行きます/go" is used in Japanese. For example, when someone calls you “come here for a minute”, you would most likely to say “I’m coming”, right? But in Japanese, it’s more suitable to use “go” and say “今行きます/いまいきます/Ima Ikimasu/I will go now”.
行きます has the meaning of going to a certain place. It goes with particles から/kara, へ/e(he) and に/ni. 来ます has the meaning of coming to a certain place. It goes with particle から/kara. When you don’t know which verb to use, particles can be one of the deciding factors. If it’s へ or に, it’s most likely 行きます. However, if it’s から then it can be both 行きます or 来ます. There is also a difference in the tense. While 行きます can be used in present and future tense, 来ます can be used in past and present tense.
来ます is used to indicate that someone is moving towards the place where the speaker is at the moment. On the other hand, 行きます is used to indicate that the speaker is moving from one place to another. When you are moving to a place where the other person is, you would say “I’m coming” in English. But in Japanese, we would say “今、行きます/I will go (there) now”. “Go/come” and “行きます/来ます” are used differently sometimes, so be careful of the way you use these words. The word 行きます indicates that you are moving further away while the word 来ます shows that something, either person or stuff, is moving towards you. The verb changes depending on whose point of view you are talking about.
Here is a simple example of how to use.
学校へ来ますか？/がっこうへきますか？/Gakko e kimasuka?/Would you come to school?
Use the word 来ますか (question form of 来ます) if the question was being asked in the school. Because student moves closer to (or approaches to) a destination (school).
学校へ行きますか？/がっこうへいきますか？/Gakko e ikimasuka?/Would you go to school?
Use the word 行きますか? (question form of 行きます) if this question was asked outside of school such as in a cafe or at home. Because in this case, the student goes to school from the home and are moving away from the place where this question was asked.
If you have just recently started to study Japanese, I recommend you to learn “行きます/Go” and its conjugation first because it’s more widely used and versatile. On the other hand, “来ます/Come” is used less often than 行く and not very versatile because basically this verb us used when someone is approaching you. Both "行きます" and "来ます" are verbs to show the movement, but it is easier to distinguish between the two if you are aware of the difference between them: in “行きます/going”: you are the one who is moving and in “来ます/Coming” someone or something is moving towards you.