View topic - To Be verbs
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- Joined: Thu 06.02.2005 2:01 pm
Desu means 'is' in the sense of equivalence, whereas aru/iru mean 'is' in the sense of existence. For example, "Kore wa hon desu" means 'This is a book', but "Hon ga arimasu" means 'There is a book (here)'. The reason it is confusing is that we have just a single word for both sense of 'to be'.
Does that make sense?
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- Joined: Thu 05.19.2005 6:20 am
However, である is only used in writing. In speech, だ(plain) or です(polite) is used for the copular (no, that's not a dirty word) form. The copular is the equals-sign form, expressed in English by the verb to be, as in "John is a doctor. The cat is pretty" and so on.
And as Tsuyoiko said, いる（います） / ある（あります） are the verbs used to express existence for animate objects (people and animals for the most part) and non-animate objects (plants, nonliving things, ideas) respectively. Tatoeba, when Gackt-san was asked whether he had a sister he replied. "hai, imasu." And if I want to ask the sushi chef if he has (can serve?) inarizushi, I say, "inarizushi ga arimasu ka?"
There is also the verb する, which is sometimes said to represent the English verb to be. But it is not a very close correspondence. する is used to turn certain nouns into verbs, ala English "do" ("Let's do lunch!") and to express states of, well, being I suppose: 頭がぼんやりしている (I'm feeling kind of fuzzy-headed.)
Bottom line. English uses the verb to be for a lot of logically separate functions. For the most part, Japanese parcels these functions out to separate verbs.
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