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.

Aru/Iru

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.

私は姉が三人います
watashi wa ane ga sannin imasu
I have 3 older sisters (姉–>ane–>older sister)

彼は車が二台ある
kare wa kuruma ga nidai aru
he has 2 cars

motte iru

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”

私はこの作家の本を五冊持っている
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:

彼はお金がたくさんある
kare wa okane ga takusan aru (お金–>okane–>money なくさん–>takusan–>a lot)
彼はお金をたくさん持っている
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.

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Posted on 2 December 2015, in Japanese, Learning Japanese, Lesson and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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