te yaru) is an expression that combines the te form of the verb followed by やる (
This expression is mainly used in two situations:
- To indicate a favor done to someone, similar to あげる
- To proclaim an intention or goal you intend to achieve, or an action that you intend to perform
In both these cases, the form てやる can be very direct, to the point of being considered rude in certain situations or when associated with certain verbs.
てやる is also used a lot in manga and anime, which makes this expression very important to learn for those interested in this world
In this post we are going to learn how the expression てやる is formed, what it means, and when it is appropriate to use it.
Originally やる was used when an action was done for an animal (
to feed) or for a plant (
This origin meant the idea that the one you do an action towards is inferior. When instead the action was directed in favor of a human being, あげる was used.
Nonetheless, some people started using あげる in every situation, with the excuse that あげる sounded "better" than やる (less direct and rude).
This trend had the opposite effect: over time, あげる began to be thought of as a rude term, as it was used the same for people, animals, and plants.
The result is that nowadays てやる is no longer generally used in its meaning of
doing someone a favor. When used, it conveys the idea that the person you are speaking with is an inferior, and that we are treating him on the same level as an animal (which is almost always a bad idea 💁🏼♂️).
Using てやる is similar to using the pronoun お前, which sounds very rude and derogatory
So remember to use てあげる in these situations:
I taught Tarou how to play the guitar.
てやる can still be found when referring to animals or plants:
I taught my dog how to sit properly.
Don't worry. I'll feed him for a year.
Or you can use てやる when you are in a very close relationship with someone or you want to use this expression as a joke:
I'll cook whatever you like to eat for you.
This second use of てやる is the most common and used one, especially in manga and anime. When we want to emphasize or declare an action we are going to do, we can conjugate the verb in the てやる form.
Wait and see, I'll be a Major League player in two years!
I'll beat him in your place.
In these cases, やる acts like an exclamation: it is a very direct method of indicating what you are going to do.
For this reason, even this meaning of てやる can often be rude and excessive in many situations: it is generally better to avoid this form in everyday life.
Nonetheless, てやる is surprisingly common in manga and anime. For example, when a character is fighting an enemy the language tends to be very direct (excessively for real situations):
I will defeat you!