Lesson#5 Verbs of possession
We already talked about verbs that are usually translated with “to be”. Now let’s have a look at the verbs that can be translated with “to have” to express possession.
Oh yes! Them again
They aren’t only used to express the existence but also to express possession!
How can you understand which meaning has aru in a sentence?
Well, simple! the structure used when you want to express possession is different.
When they are used to express existence, there is only one element of the sentence marked with “wa” or “ga” and this element is the “thing” that “exists”
While when you are expressing possession you’ll have both “wa” and “ga” in the sentence with this structure:
X wa N ga (how much) arimasu/imasu
the meaning is simply: X has (how much) N
The rule is Always the same: aru/arimasu for objects and animals, iru/imasu for persons.
watashi wa ane ga sannin imasu
I have 3 older sisters (姉–>ane–>older sister)
kare wa kuruma ga nidai aru
he has 2 cars
This is the second way to express possession.
The structure is:
X wa N o (how much) motte iru / motte imasu
As you can see the structure is similar to the other but the object possessed is marked with the particle “o” and not “ga”
watashi wa kono sakka no hon o gosatsu motte iru
I have 5 books of this writer (作家–>sakka–>writer,author)
The difference between “motte iru” and “aru”
“motte iru” can be used only with inanimated things and have a slightly different meaning compared to “aru”
Let’s give a look to these examples:
kare wa okane ga takusan aru (お金–>okane–>money なくさん–>takusan–>a lot)
kare wa okane o takusan motte iru
Both sentences mean “He has a lot of money” but the first one has the general meaning “He is rich”, while the second one means “he has a lot of money” now, with him, maybe in his hand. So motte iru has a momentary meaning.
So, if you are with your friend and you want to ask him if he has the english book with him now, you don’t have to say:
“kimi wa eigo no hon ga arimasuka” (eigo–>english language)
but you have to say:
“kimi wa eigo no hon o motte imasuka”
Cause with the first question you are asking if he has an english book in general, while with the second you are asking if he has it now, with him.