Wild Nihongo!
いる (Animate Being)

いる (Animate Being)

いる (Animate Being) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Verb (Group 2)

Essential Meaning: To be / To exist (animate being)

Construction: Group 2 Verb

Notes:

  • いる is an existential verb that indicates the existence of animal life (it’s not used for plant life). Its counterpart is ある, which is used with inanimate objects.
  • There are two general sentence structures when using いる:
    • (1) A location is presented as the topic, and the animate being that exists in that location is under focus. This type of sentence usually takes the form LOCATION (に) は SUBJECT が (QUANTIFIER) いる.
      • E.g. このまちには日本人にほんじんがたくさんいる。[In this village, there are many Japanese people.] In this sentence, “Village” is the location, “Japanese people” is the animate subject that exists in the village, “Many” is the quantifier, and いる is the verb.
    • (2) An animate being is presented as the topic, and the location where that being exists is under focus. This type of sentence usually takes the form SUBJECT は LOCATION に いる.
      • E.g. クリスはこの部屋へやにいる。[Chris is in this room.] In this sentence, “Chris” is the animate subject, “Room” is the location where she exists, and いる is the verb.
  • In some cases, a person, group, or organization can be used in the LOCATION position when paired with いる (i.e. the person or animal under focus exists within the group or with the person).
    • E.g. わたしには子供ともだち三人さんにんいる。[I have 3 kids.] In this case, the subject is the “location” where the children exist. In other words, the children are with the subject.
    • E.g. このチームにはいいクオーターバックがいる。[There is a good quarterback on this team.] In this case, the team is the location where the good quarterback exists. In other words, the good quarterback is in / on the team.

Example Sentences:

クリスはこの部屋へやにいる。[Chris is in this room.]

この動物園どうぶつえんにはパンダがいます。[There are pandas in this zoo.]

マークはいまクリスのアパートにいる。[Mark is at Chris’s apartment now.]

WILD Examples:

At :54, listen for the line: こいつたちがいる[These guys are here with me]
The first line of this song goes as follows: Hey look! ここにいるよ、いつでも [Hey look! I’m always here, any time]
Listen to this line at 1:42: きみのスカートがみじかくて、ハラハラしているおれいる [Your skirt is short, and I’m here feeling anxious]

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