Arimasu vs Imasu in Japanese

How to mention somethings or someones existence in Japanese? There is a difference for mentioning them in Japanese language. Sometimes あります (arimasu) is being used, other times います (imasu) is being used. We will know the difference between あります (arimasu) and います (imasu).

When a thing cannot move by itself, to mention its existence あります (arimasu) is being used.

Example of あります (arimasu):

とけい が あります。 (tokei ga arimasu.)
There is a clock.
き が あります。(ki ga arimasu.)
There is a tree.
いす が あります。(isu ga arimasu.)
There is a chair.

As you can see clock, tree and chair cannot move by itself. Therefore, あります (arimasu) is being used for mentioning their existence.

When a thing can move by itself, to mention its existence います (imasu) is being used.

Example of います (imasu):

ねこ が います。 (neko ga imasu.)
There is a cat.
とり が います。(tori ga imasu.)
There is a bird.
ひと が います。(hito ga imasu.)
There is a person.

As you can see cat, bird and person can move by itself. Therefore, います (imasu) is being used for mentioning their existence.

Hope this article helps you understanding the difference between あります (arimasu) and います (imasu). Happy learning.


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