がる Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 1)
Essential Meaning: X shows signs of
- い-Adjective stem + がっている
- E.g. 欲しがっている [X shows signs of wanting]
- な-Adjective stem + がっている (uncommon)
- E.g. 嫌がっている [X shows signs of disliking]
- There are a variety of adjectives in Japanese that describe the internal psychological state of the speaker (or someone with whom the speaker empathizes strongly, such as a family member). These adjectives may describe emotions (e.g. 怖い [Scary]、うれしい [Glad]、おもしろい [Interesting]) or they may describe physical sensations (e.g. 痛い [Painful]、苦しい [Agonizing]、寒い [Cold]). Importantly, these adjectives cannot be used to describe the psychological state of a third person.
- E.g. 私はカメラが欲しい。[I want a camera.] This sentence is acceptable because 欲しい describes the speaker’s own internal feeling.
- E.g. 妹はカメラが欲しい。[My little sister wants a camera.] This sentence is acceptable because 欲しい describes the internal feeling of the younger sister, who is part of the speaker’s in-group.
- E.g. *金丸先生はカメラが欲しい。[Mrs. Kanemaru wants a camera.] This sentence is unacceptable because 欲しい cannot describe the internal feelings of a third person (i.e. Mrs. Kanemaru).
- が’る is used to indirectly describe a third person’s internal feelings by conveying the speaker’s perception of how that person feels. Thus, XはYがる roughly translates to “X shows signs of Y“.
- E.g. メアリーはカメラを欲しがっている。[Mary is showing signs that she wants a camera].
- Note that the が particle that typically accompanies perceptual adjectives is replaced by を when paired with がる. Also note that がる is typically expressed in the stative tense (i.e. がっている) or in the past tense.
- E.g. 僕は犬が怖い。[I am afraid of dogs.]
- E.g. マイクは犬を怖がっている。[Mike is afraid of dogs.]
- がる conjugates as a Group 1 verb (i.e. がらない, がります, がれば, がって, et cetera.) But as stated above, it is generally conjugated as がっている.
- When an adjective that describes an internal state is used in an embedded clause (e.g. “I heard that….” or “X said that…“), がる is unnecessary. The reason is that these sentences convey direct quotations or hearsay regarding someone’s internal feeling rather than making an assumptive declarative statement about someone’s feelings.
- E.g. 福田さんは犬が怖いと言った。[Mr. Fukuda said that he is scared of dogs.] This sentence directly quotes Mr. Fukuda’s statement that he is scared of dogs, so it doesn’t require any assumption on the part of the speaker regarding Mr. Fukuda’s feelings.
- E.g. 一男はスポーツかーが欲しいそうだ。[I heard that Kazuo wants a sports car.] This sentence conveys hearsay that the speaker heard about Mr. Fukuda’s fear of dogs, so it also does not requires assumption from the speaker.
- がる is used almost exclusively with い-Adjectives, however 迷惑 [troublesome] and いや [dislike] are two exceptional な-Adjectives that may be paired with がる. Below is a list of い-Adjectives that are frequently paired with がる.
- E.g. 欲しい [To want]
- E.g. うれしい [Happy]
- E.g. さびしい [Lonely]
- E.g. ~たい [Want to]
- E.g. こわい [Scary]
- E.g. うらやましい [Envious]
- E.g. おもしろい [Interesting]
- E.g. 痛い [Painful]
- E.g. 苦しい [Agonizing]
- E.g. かゆい [Itchy]
- E.g. 寒い [Cold]
- E.g. 暑い [Hot]
- E.g. だるい [Languid / Lame]
- E.g. くすぐったい [Ticklish]
- There are a handful of idiomatic nouns that have been derived from Adjective + がる forms. They are generally used to describe a certain “type” of person (usually in a derisive manner) and they may optionally be followed by 屋. A few examples are:
- E.g. 寂しがり(屋) [A person who always feels lonely]
- E.g. こわがり(屋) [A person who is easily frightened]
- E.g. 寒がり(屋) [A person who is sensitive to cold]
- E.g. 暑がり(屋) [A person who is sensitive to heat]
一男はスポーツカーを欲しがった。[Kazuo showed sign of wanting a sports car. (i.e. Kazuo wanted a sports car).]
上田さんはアイスクリームを食べたがった。 [Mr. Ueda showed signs of wanting to eat ice cream (i.e. Mr Ueda wanted to eat ice cream).]
スーザンは一人で寂しがっています。[Susan shows signs of being lonely all by herself (i.e. Susan is lonely all by herself).]
子供が眠たがっている。[The child shows signs of wanting to sleep (i.e. The child wants to sleep).]
YouTube videos may be region-locked depending on your country of origin. If you experience issues, please try using a VPN set to a United States IP address.