日本語 | Arimasu vs. Imasu 文法

This post discusses the difference between arimasu and imasu.


Arimasu あります

___ があります。 = There is/are (a non-living thing)

This structure can be used to say there is something somewhere.

e.g.
公園があります。
Kouen ga arimasu.
There’s a park.

The location can be indicated with a phrase at the beginning of the sentence.

e.g.
あそこにカフェがありまう。
Asoko ni kafe ga arimasu.
There’s a café over there.

Arimasu uses the ni (に) particle instead of de (で) to show location. The place description usually comes first, and the whole phrase is usually followed by the ga (が) particle instead of wa (は).

Arimasu can also be used to say that you have or own something.

e.g.
本があります。
Hon ga arimasu.
I have a book.

This can be turned into a question by adding the particle ka (か).

e.g.
時間がありますか。
Jikan ga arimasu ka?
Do you have time?

It can also be made negative, by converting arimasu (あります)  into arimasen (ありません). This follows the same pattern found in other verbs.

e.g.
車がありません。
Kuruma ga arimasen.
I don’t have a car.

Another function of arimasu is that it can be used to say that an event will take place.

e.g.
日曜日にパーティーがあります。
Nichiyoubi ni pātī ga arimasu.
There will be a party on Sunday.

週末には学校がありません。
Shūmatsu ni wa gakkou ga arimasen.
There is no school at the weekend.

The sentence structure to use while talking about an event and its location is as follows:

WHEN  +  NI  (に, some exceptions)  +  WHERE  +  DE  (で)  +   GA ARIMASU  (があります)

e.g.
四月に公園でお花見があります。
Shigatsu ni kouen de ohanami ga arimasu.
There will be hanami at the park in April.

あした京都でお祭りがあります。
Ashita Kyōto de omatsuri ga arimasu.
There will be a festival in Kyoto tomorrow.


Imasu います

Imasu is used like arimasu, but for sentient beings like people and animals.

e.g.
あそこに先生がいます。
Asoko ni sensei ga imasu.
There’s a teacher over there.

This can also be used to say you have friends, siblings, etc.

e.g.
アメリカ人の友達がいます。
Amerikajin no tomodachi ga imasu.
I have an American friend.


Overall, the sentence structure to say that ‘there is something’ is as shown below.

PLACE + NI (に) +  → NON-LIVING THING + GA (が) + ARIMASU (あります)

                                          → LIVING THING + GA (が) + IMASU (います)

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