ある/いる

aru/arimasu & iru/imasu
ある/あります and いる/います both represent the verb "to be" as in "to exist."  It is important to distinguish the difference between these and the copula だ/です which means "to be equal to."  あります is simply the formal form of ある and います is the formal form of いる.  So what is the difference between ある and いる?  They both convey existence, but ある is used for inanimate objects while いる is used for animate objects (people, dogs, etc.) For example sentences showing the differences between ある/あります, いる/います and だ/です see だ/です.

The Conjugations

ある conjugates like a group 2 consonant stem -る verb (see 動詞の変化) with a few exceptions*:

Informal (Common 普段)
ある Present Affirmative there is/are
*ない Present Negative there isn't/aren't
あった Past Affirmative there was/were
*なかった Past Negative there wasn't/weren't
あろう Tentative there probably is/are
 
Formal (Polite 丁寧)
あります Present Affirmative there is/are
ありません Present Negative there isn't/aren't
ありました Past Affirmative there was/were
ありませんでした Past Negative there wasn't/weren't
あるでしょう Tentative there probably is/are
 
Conditional and Conjunctive
あったら / あれば Conditional if there is/was
*なかったら / *なければ Negative Conditional if there isn't/wasn't
あって Conjunctive there is/are ... and/so
*なくて Negative Conjunctive there is/are not ... and/so


いる conjugates like a group 1 vowel stem verb (see 動詞の変化 for more detail on verb types):

Informal (Common 普段)
いる Present Affirmative there is/are
いない Present Negative there isn't/aren't
いた Past Affirmative there was/were
いなかった Past Negative there wasn't/weren't
いよう Tentative there probably is/are
 
Formal (Polite 丁寧)
います Present Affirmative there is/are
いません Present Negative there isn't/aren't
いました Past Affirmative there was/were
いませんでした Past Negative there wasn't/weren't
いるでしょう Tentative there probably is/are
 
Conditional and Conjunctive
いたら / いれば Conditional if there is/was
いなかったら / いなければ Negative Conditional if there isn't/wasn't
いて Conjunctive there is/are ... and/so
いなくて Negative Conjunctive there is/are not ... and/so

Just as with だ/です each informal conjugation (aside from the conditional and conjunctive) has a corresponding formal (or polite) conjugation.

Some Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences using the above conjugations of ある/あります. Again notice that the present tense is used for conveying future tense** since there is no conjugation for the future tense itself.

Informal Formal
あのテーブルに本がある。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga aru.]
There is a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本があります。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga arimasu.]
There is a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本がない。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga nai.]
There is not a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本がありません。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga arimasen.]
There is not a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本があった。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga atta.]
There was a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本がありました。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga arimashita.]
There was a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本がなかった。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga nakatta.]
There was not a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本がありませんでした。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga arimasen deshita.]
There was not a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本があろう。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga arou.]
There is probably a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本があるでしょう。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga aru deshou.]
There is probably a book on that table.
あのテーブルに本があったら辞書だ。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga attara jisho da.]
If there is a book on the table, it's a dictionary.
あのテーブルに本があったら辞書です。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga attara jisho desu.]
If there is a book on the table, it's a dictionary.
あのテーブルに本があって辞書だ。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga atte jisho da.]
There is a book on that table, it's a dictionary.
あのテーブルに本があって辞書です。
[ano teeburu ni hon ga atte jisho desu.]
There is a book on that table, it's a dictionary.
明日も本がテーブルにある。**
[ashita mo hon ga teeburu ni aru.]
The book will be on the table tomorrow too.
明日も本がテーブルにあります。**
[ashita mo hon ga teeburu ni arimasu.]
The book will be on the table tomorrow too.

Now some example sentences for いる/います. Notice in the following examples how the informal form is used in a formal sentence so long as it is not the final verb of the sentence.  Formal verbs are only used at the end of a sentence.

Informal Formal
お父さんが庭にいる。
[otousan ga niwa ni iru.]
Father is in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいます。
[otousan ga niwa ni imasu.]
Father is in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいない。
[otousan ga niwa ni inai.]
Father is not in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいません。
[otousan ga niwa ni imasen.]
Father is not in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいた。
[otousan ga niwa ni ita.]
Father was in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいました。
[otousan ga niwa ni imashita.]
Father was in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいなかった。
[otousan ga niwa ni inakatta.]
Father was not in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいませんでした。
[otousan ga niwa ni imasen deshita.]
Father was not in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいよう。
[otousan ga niwa ni iyou.]
Father is probably in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいるでしょう。
[otousan ga niwa ni iru deshou.]
Father is probably in the garden.
お父さんが庭にいたら誰が家にいるか?
[otousan ga niwa ni itara dare ga ie ni iru ka?]
If father is in the garden, who is in the house?
お父さんが庭にいたら誰が家にいますか?
[tousan ga niwa ni itara dare ga ie ni imasu ka]
If father is in the garden, who is in the house?
お父さんが庭にいてお母さんが家にいる。
[otousan ga niwa ni ite okaasan ga ie ni iru.]
Father's in the garden & mother's in the house.
お父さんが庭にいてお母さんが家にいます。
[otousan ga niwa ni ite okaasan ga ie ni imasu.]
Father's in the garden & mother's in the house.
お父さんが明日も庭にいる。**
[otousan ga ashita mo niwa ni iru.]
Father will be in the garden tomorrow too.
お父さんが明日も庭にいます。**
[otousan ga ashita mo niwa ni imasu.]
Father will be in the garden tomorrow too.

With mastery of だ/です along with ある/あります and いる/います you are now ready to formulate rudimentary sentences using the Japanese nouns and particles you are familiar with thus far.  From here we move into the adjectives and verbs that will help you express yourself better and give you the tools that will allow you to communicate more effectively in Japanese.  If your still a bit hazy on what we've covered so far, you may want to go back and review until you feel comfortable taking the next step.

ホーム  平仮名と片仮名  日本語の名詞  日本語の助詞  だ/です
ある/ いる  形容詞の変化  動詞の変化  漢字辞典  日本語クイズ

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