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Verb Iru And Aru

To tell someone that you have or possess something, use the verbs iru (ee-roo) and aru (ah-roo). Both mean "to exist," which shows possession in Japanese. You choose the verb according to whether the item you possess is animate or inanimate:

  • Iru shows possession of animate items, such as people and animals.
  • Aru is for inanimate items, such as books, money, plants, and houses.

So "I have a boyfriend" is Watashi wa boifurendo ga iru (wah-tah-shee wah bohh-ee-foo-rehn-doh gah ee-roo), which literally means "As for me, a boyfriend exists." Similarly, "Alison has money" is Alison wa okane ga aru (ah-ree-sohn wah oh-kah-neh gah ah-roo), which literally means "As for Alison, money exists."

When speaking in a polite/neutral context, use the polite form of these verbs, imasu (ee-mah-soo) and arimasu (ah-ree-mah-soo), both of which are conjugated here. Iru is a ru-verb, but aru is slightly irregular; pay close attention to the negative form.



Here are a few examples of having and not having:

Talking about your regular activities

To express that you do something regularly - run, play tennis, go to work, and so on - use the verb that expresses the activity and the verb iru (ee-roo; to exist), in that order. Make sure to conjugate the verb that expresses ihe action in the te-form. (See Chapter 2 for details oil the te-form.) You can leave the verb iru as it is or put it in the polite form, imasu (ee-mah-soo).

For example, you can combine the verbs hashiru (hah-shee-roo; to run) and iru to get hashitte iru (hah-sheet-teh ee-roo) or hashitte imasu (hah-sheet-teh ee-mah-soo). Both phrases mean that someone runs regularly, sort of like saying, "I run and exist every day."

Be careful: hashitte iru can also be interpreted as "I'm in the middle of running." Which meaning the phrase takes on depends on the context. If you say mainichi (mah-ee-nee-chee; every day) before saying hashitte imasu, you obviously mean a regular activity: "I run every day." If you say ima (ee-mah; now), you mean "I'm in the middle of running now." The following sentences express regular actions:

Giving out your contact information

After chatting with someone, you may want to contact him or her. below table lists the information you may want to collect.

Contact Information
denwa bangodehn-wah bahn-gohhphone number
denshi meru adoresudehn-shee mehh-roo ah-doh-reh-sooe-mail address
fakkusu bangofahk-koo-soo bahn-gohhfax number

Exchanging meishi (mehh-shee; business cards) is also a good idea. These phrases are useful when exchanging contact information:

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