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

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”

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.


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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Japanese home recipes

Easy & healthy Japanese home cooking recipes


“Don’t try to be different. Just be Creative. To be creative is different enough.”

Cafe Book Bean

Talk Books. Drink Coffee.

Kaito monogatari

My journey in self studying Japanese

J-pop Through My Looking Glass

Discovering today’s pop music in Japan

Scooter vs Japan

A foam puppet's romantic battle against the Mystic East

48 Shades

the long road to Japanese fluency

Meiwa fill you in

A smalltown kid on an international adventure

Japan Explained FASAQ

The Whys and Wherefores of All Things Japanese

%d bloggers like this: