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Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

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Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby Kairizu » Sun 11.13.2005 2:10 pm


I'm having a hard time with what would be -ing in English.... For example, to say "We are sleeping"... would this be: bokutachi wa nete iru? bokutachi neru o shite iru? Some clarification would be much appreciated! Arigatou~
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby aoeuaoeuaoeu » Sun 11.13.2005 2:32 pm


verb t form + iru/imasu
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby Harisenbon » Sun 11.13.2005 8:18 pm

fuasu wrote:

Your explanation is correct, but I'm not quite sure how you got those kanji to show up. There shouldn't be a small つ there.

寝ている -- ねている
眠っている -- ねむっている
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby Kates » Mon 11.14.2005 9:43 am

Kairizu: What is it you are having a 'hard time' with? Making the form? If so, it's explained pretty well up there (te- form + iru). Or is there something else that confuses you?
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby roomwithamoose » Mon 11.14.2005 10:55 pm

Ah, well the lovely (sarcasm) thing about the English language is that the -ing form can translate to 3 things! The progressive, the gerund, and the participle. You might not know what these grammar terms mean, I didn't until I desired to make the -ing form in Japanese and came across all of this. I'll break it down into three sections:

The present progressive form is when you are speaking of something that is currently occuring. Examples:

I am drinking water.
I am watching television.

Japanese is a language that seems to not add words for functions such as this, but use already existing ones such as iru (to exist), which makes more sense to me than adding an -ing. To form this in Japanese, just put the verb into the -te form and add iru or imasu (to exist, imasu = polite form). Here are the sentances from before translated:

(Watashi wa) mizu o nonde iru.
(Watashi wa) terebi o mite imasu.

As you can see the literal translation would be that "I exist drinking water" which in reality, is really what the present progressive is. Another thing that one may do is use past progressive by putting iru into its past form (ita or imashita) and keeping the verb in the -te form. I have read that the Japanese tend to use the past progressive more than the past that English people do (however I am unsure of the validity of this statement, maybe someone could verify this?). For example, I may say, what did you do yesterday, they may say:

Kinou wa nani o shite ita? (What were you doing last night?)

A gerund is when a verb is used in a sentance as a noun. Another words it is in a noun's spot, such as a subject or object. An example sentance would be,

Running is good.

As you can see, the verb takes the subject's spot by turning to its -ing/gerund form. In Japanese, all one needs to do is add koto or mono to a statement/verb to nominalize it depending on the situation. The problem is it takes time for one to be able to know when to use which. Koto is used for concepts where is mono is used for real things, however a real thing does not mean it is tangible. Someone's childhood would use mono because it is indeedly a real thing that occured. Here is an example sentance in Japanese for what I said:

Hashiru koto wa ii desu.

This form is simply when a verb takes the form of an adjective/adverb. Here is an example:

I took a picture of the setting sun.

In Japanese you just need to put the verb before the noun you'd like it to modify, and put it in the necessary tense. In this case you would like it in present progressive. I am unsure of the verb "to set (the sun)". Maybe someone else can post examples for the participle? I hope you're able to understand all of what I said, anyone on the forum please correct me if I've named anything incorrectly. Have a nice day :D.
Last edited by roomwithamoose on Mon 11.14.2005 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby Kairizu » Tue 11.15.2005 12:27 am

Thank you all, this did clarify it for me, especially the post by roomwithamoose. Heh, kinda funny to type that out. But yes, the whole gerund/present progressive issue had been bugging me but I feel much more confident. ^^
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby Kates » Tue 11.15.2005 12:53 pm

Moose: I believe your pariciple example would fall under the 'modifier' category. For example, I thought of it using a verb I'm more familiar with: to run.

I took a picture of the running man.
I would say, in Japanese:
走っていた男の人の写真を取りました。 (perhaps... is 'no shashin wo toru' okay? I know it's usually incorrect to use two 'wo' in a sentence...)

'Hashitte-ita' modifies 'otoko no hito'--verbs used this way are left in plain form, either past or non-past. (ie: 'Hashitte-iru otoko no hito' also makes sense.) This is a pretty basic grammar point--usually learned in first year, I think.

As for "setting sun"... I think this phrase in English is usually expressed as single word in Japanese (though I'm sure you could use verb+noun to express it as well). Perhaps someone with more knowledge than I could better answer that one. ^_^
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby InsanityRanch » Tue 11.15.2005 5:32 pm

Kates wrote:
I took a picture of the running man.
I would say, in Japanese:
走っていた男の人の写真を取りました。 (perhaps... is 'no shashin wo toru' okay? I know it's usually incorrect to use two 'wo' in a sentence...)

It's usually 写真を撮る -- different kanji, same pronunciation -- I believe.

I don't know what you mean by two "wo", though, since I count only one!


The real problem with -ている, though, is it doesn't correspond well to any particular grammatical form in English.

Things expressed in the progressive present tense in English may well be expressed in simple present in Japanese:

I'm going to the party = パーティに行く/行きます。

Things expressed in simple present in English may be expressed with -ている in Japanese:

I know! = 知っている!

Things expressed with to be plus the past participle in English may be expressed with -ている in Japanese.

This room is crowded = この部屋は込んでいる.

Sometimes even the English present perfect tense may be expressed with -ている in Japanese.

He has written five books = 彼は本の5冊を書いている。

As my Japanese friends have explained it (repeatedly! because I have trouble getting my English-speaking head around it) -ている is used when expressing a condition or state of being. That's why so many feeling-states are expressed that way: ぼんやりしている、のんびりしている、苦労している…

In short, this is one of the trickiest bits of Japanese to use correctly, in my view.

Last edited by InsanityRanch on Tue 11.15.2005 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Trouble with "-ing" (iru/imasu)

Postby zengargoyle » Tue 11.15.2005 6:32 pm

possibly of interest, but likely more than you really want to think about... The (Non-Vacuous) Semantics of TE-Linkage in Japanese
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