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おく [おく] (oku)
    Meaning: to do it in advance OR to leave it in the current state expecting a later change
    Example: I left the window open
    JLPT Level: 2
    Category: grammar
    Author: dc

  [ Edit This Grammar Entry ]
"oku" and "-te oku" always has something expected in the future.

This is a AuxVerb and is used in by the patterm てーStem + おく
1) To keep the action’s result.
2) To continue the action.
3) Admitting the situation is/will be a certain way and leaving it the way it is.
4) To do something in advance, and expecting a certain result or happening.
5) To doing something temporally to get by for the moment.

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ex #3302   会議のために、準備 しておきました 
I prepared for the meeting in advance  
ex #3304   もっと早く検診を受けておけばよかった 
I wish I had taken my health check earlier  
ex #4321   2本も飲めなかったから、1本はあなたに残しておきました 
I couldn't drink both bottles, so I left one for you.  
ex #4322   あなたの報告書に目を通し、コメントを書いておきました 
I've looked through your report and made some notes on it.  
ex #4323   それは引き出しに入れておきました 
I put in the drawer.  
ex #4324   ボブは彼が集めていた切手をほとんど全部ティナにあげて、ほんのすこしだけ自分のためにとっておきました 
Bob gave Tina almost all the stamps he had collected, and kept only a few for himself.  
ex #4325   君は、窓を開けたままにしておきましたか。 
Did you leave the window open?  
ex #4326   状況を改善するための提案を付け加えておきました 
I've added my recommendations to improve the situation.  
ex #4327   彼に君の名を言っておきました 
I mentioned your name to him.  
ex #4328   彼に助言をしておきました 
I gave him some helpful advice.  
ex #4329   彼女は私を2時間もたたせておきました 
She left me standing there for two hours.  
ex #5467   いや。。ちゃんと聞いておこう。 
No, I'd better listen and remember it for later !  
ex #5468   わたしが払っておきます。 
I’ll pay all for the meantime (...and I’m exepecting something back in the future )  

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  See Also:  
    [ Add a See Also ]
    dcQ: there seems to be two meanings:
    to do in advance
    to put aside
    anonI think that last example doesn't belong - it is referring to okiru - to get up... 
    nefertitiIt seems like 'in advance' is just relative to the time you are speaking to someone. (Before I spoke to you I did X). In that case how is it different from just using "mae ni" or "sakihodo"? For example
    前に会議の準備をしました ?

    On the other hand, it seems like it can also mean "made sure to do" especially when reading example 4322 - 4325? Any help understanding this better would be appreciated.

    bamboo4おく has the primary meaning of "leave it where it is at" or "leave it at its present status." The use of おく as indicating "in advance" is very limited such as 耳に入れておく. Most of the examples shown here are "leave it where it is at" type, and only 3303, 4327 and 4328 would qualify as statements in "in advance" category.For other examples, it is incorrect to label them as in "to do something in advance" category.

    infinite_trialthe meaning should be changed then "to do something in advance" and "leave it as it is/leave it where it is at". but usually おく is paired with ままに to imply the latter meaning. 
    dcchanged. is "oku:in advance" a separate grammar usage, or just when used with other auxiliary words, i wonder. 
    cupThe trick to reading this is to remember that て-Stem means "ClauseX and then ClauseY" so you read the sentances as i did/doing/will do ClauseX and I expect some unspecific effect(ClauseY) to happen/happened/be happening... 
    tigertnefertitiさん Your right about the meaning of 2I made sure to do" or "I will make sure to do"

    I use it a lot when I want to say, "You can count on it" or " You can bet I`ll get it done"

    Bamboo4さん, I`m not sure why you think the use of "in advanced" meaning is very limited, I hear it used all the time. 買っておく、調べておく、聞いておく、etc... from my experiance, it seems to be a case of whether the context is past or future.

    infinite_trialさん 何? ままに? そのままの ままにですか? I think that to use ままに one needs to have a discription before it.

    I.E. そのままに
    You are pointing to something or talking about something that both listener and speaker are familiar with.
       "so young" or "foolish"
    I have also heard it used to mean selfish, but I`m not sure if its the same 漢字

    Its possible to use this with full sentences, adjectives, etc.. I`m not 100% on the conj rules, but it seems to be used mostly with the past tense.

    karekanoTigert-san, I knew wagamama (selfish) 我が儘;我がままbut 若まま I didn't know ^^ 

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