Language | WELL SAID

Give your Japanese verbs wings using ‘agaru’ and ‘ageru’

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Ima, chōdo dekiagatta tokoro da yo. (It’s just finished.)

Situation 1: On Sunday, Mr. Okubo is baking pizza at home when his daughter asks him a question.

まり子:  ねえ、ピザ、できた?

父:  今、ちょうどでき上がったところだよ。さあ、みんな を呼んできて。

Mariko: Nē, piza, dekita?

Chichi: Ima, chōdo deki-agatta tokoro da yo. Sā, minna o yonde-kite.

Mariko: Hey, is the pizza done?

Father: It’s just finished. Now, call everybody.

Today we will introduce the basic meaning of compound verbs V上(あ)がる and V上(あ)げる, with various examples. The first group of these verbs are formed when 上がる (to go up) attaches to another verb in stem form (the masu-form without ます), as in the father’s でき上がる remark. V上がる adds the implication of moving upward, as in 飛(と)び上がる (to fly up), 立ち上がる (to stand up), 浮き上がる (to rise to the surface) and 駆(か)け上がる (to run up). Example: 猫(ねこ)は飛び上がって鳥(とり)を捕(つか)まえようとした (The cat jumped up, trying to catch a bird). V上がる also adds a sense of completion to a verb related to making or creating, as in 焼(や)き上がる(to be baked), でき上がる(to be finished) as in 作品(さくひん)ができ上がりました (The product has been completed). Vあがる can also add the sense of something being to an extreme or increasing degree, as in 干(ひ)上がる(to dry up) and 晴(は)れ上がる (to clear up). Example: 雨(あめ)が降(ふ)らず、池(いけ)は干上がってしまった (Because it hadn’t rained, the pond dried up).

Situation 2: Mr. Mita has finished a report and talks to Ms. Gray.

三田: やっと報告書を書き上げたよ。今回は時間がかかったなあ。

グレイ: そうだね。あれをまとめ上げるのは大変よ。

Mita: Yatto hōkokusho o kaki-ageta yo. Konkai wa jikan ga kakatta nā.

Gurei: Sō da ne. Are o matome-ageru no wa taihen yo.

Mita: I finally finished the report. It took a long time this time.

Gray: That’s right. It’s a lot of work to compile.

V(verb in stem form)あげる works as a transitive verb, while Vあがる forms intransitive verbs. Xあげる adds the sense of moving something upward, as in 持(も)ち上げる (to lift up), 取(と)り上げる (to take up), 押(お)し上げる (to push up), 見(み)上げる (to look up) and 運(はこ)び上げる (to carry up). Example: 空(そら)を見上げると、飛行機(ひこうき)が飛(と)んでいた (When I looked up the sky, a plane was flying by). Vあげる can also add the meaning of finishing something, as in レポートを書(か)き上げる (to finish writing a report), 編(あ)み上げる (to finish knitting), 信頼(しんらい)を築(きず)き上げる (to build up trust), 作(つく)り上げる (to complete) and 育(そだ)て上げる (to raise). Finally, it can also imply taking something to the limit, as in 追(お)い上げる (to close in on/put pressure on), 磨(みが)き上げる (to polish up).

Bonus Dialogue: Section chief Mr. Okubo and division head Ms. Yamani are talking about the next meeting.

ヤマニ:  次(つぎ)の会議(かいぎ)ではどんなことを取(と)り上(あ)げるんですか。

大久保:  最近(さいきん)、売(う)り上(あ)げが落(お)ちている原因(げんいん)です。調(しら)べてみると、商品開発(しょうひんかいはつ)の問題(もんだい)が浮(う)かび上がってきたんです。新(あたら)しい商品(しょうひん)を作(つく)り上げるのに時間(じかん)がかかりすぎるんですね。

ヤマニ:   たしかに、ライバル社(しゃ)は追(お)い上げてきています。でも、わが社は何年(なんねん)もかけて信頼(しんらい)を築(きず)き上げてきました。いいかげんな商品(しょうひん)を売(う)り出しても、結局(けっきょく)は 負(ま)けてしまいますよ。うちには優秀(ゆうしゅう)な社員(しゃいん)がいるのですから、彼らにロングセラーになる商品を開発(かいはつ)してほしいのです。

大久保:  そうですね。おっしゃるとおりです。[ひとりごと] 部長(ぶちょう)は社員を持(も)ち上げて働(はたら)かせるのがうまいなあ。

Yamani: What kind of things will you bring up at the next meeting?

Okubo: The reason why our sales have fallen recently. We looked into it and a problem with product development has emerged: It’s simply taking too much time to develop new products.

Yamani: Certainly, rival companies are catching up. But our company has built up trust over the years. If we put out cheap products, in the end we’ll lose. We have excellent employees and I want them to develop products that will become long-sellers.

Okubo: Yes, you’re right, boss. [To himself:] She’s great at lifting up the employees and motivating them to work.