ている Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Auxiliary Verb (Group 2)
Essential Meaning: ~ing (an action continues) / X continues to be in some state brought about by a prior action
- Verb て-Form + いる
- E.g. 話している [X is speaking]
- E.g. 食べている [X is eating]
- E.g. 腐っている [X is rotten]
- ている is generally regarded as the Japanese equivalent to the English progressive tense (e.g. “Playing“, “Writing“, “Pooping“). This is a common misconception.
- When ている is paired with a durative verb that can continue or can be repeated, it expresses continuing action or a habitual action. Verbs such as 住んでいる [Living] and 思っている [Thinking] fall into this category.
- E.g. Continuing Action: ジョンは酒を飲んでいる。[John is drinking sake.]
- E.g. Habitual Action: 私は毎日4マイル走っている。[I run 4 miles every day.]
- E.g. Continuing State: 私は宮崎に住んでいます。[I live in Miyazaki (i.e. I am in a continuing state of living in Miyazaki).]
- E.g. Continuing State: ジョンは日本語はやさしいと思っている。[John thinks that Japanese is easy (i.e. John is in a continuing state of thinking that Japanese is easy).]
- However, when ている is paired with a momentary verb (i.e. one that cannot continue over time) or a verb that cannot be repeated, ている represents the idea that some action occurred, and now the subject remains in that state. This is a crucial concept that most textbooks gloss over. Motion verbs such as 行く [To go], 来る [To come], and 帰る [To return] fall into this category, as well as 知る [To know].
- E.g. このリンゴは腐っている。[This apple is rotten (i.e. the apple rotted, and it remains in that state).] The verb 腐る [To rot] can not be repeated; once the apple is rotten, it’s rotten.
- E.g. 木が倒れている。[The tree has fallen over (i.e. the tree fell over, and it remains in that state).] The falling of the tree is presumably a momentary action, and after the tree falls it remains in that state.
- E.g. 私は鈴木さんを知っています。[I know Ms. Suzuki (i.e. I got to know Ms. Suzuki, and I remain in a state of knowing her).] 知っている indicates the continuing state of knowing after getting to know, rather than the continuing action of getting to know.
- E.g. マークはアメリカに行っている。[Mark is in America (i.e. Mark went to America and is still in that state).]
- E.g. ジョンはもう家に帰っています。 [John already went home (i.e. John went home, and he remains in that state).]
佐々木さんは酒を飲んでいる。[Sasaki-san is drinking sake.]
和江は新聞を読んでいる。[Kazue is reading a newspaper.]
このリンゴは腐っている。[This apple is rotten.]
木が倒れている。[This tree has fallen.]
私は鈴木さんを知っています。[I know Ms. Suzuki.]
***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.***