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JPLearn! - Volume I
There is something: います・あります・ に・も/ Katakana
There is something: います・あります・ に・も/ Katakana
There is something: います・あります・ に・も / Katakana

In order to express the existence of anything we must be able to denote it. Often times Imasu and Arimasu can be used but please kindly note that there are other methods as well which we will introduce in more advanced lessons. はじめましょう!

The differences between Imasu and Arimasu

Imasu is best described when referring to something that is living and animated. Arimasu is used when something that is non-living such as a book or a dead person. Both are verbs meaning "to be". Both あります・います are positive-present tense verbs and we will be learning more about verbs in Chapter 2 lesson 18. For now, let's take a look at the following table and understand the differences between います・あります。

いす (chair)あります
くるまいます ・ あります
ロボット(robotto / robot)います ・ あります
木 (き / tree)あります

Did you understand the difference? Perhaps it was not-so-clear when Cars, Robots and Trees were introduced. Trees may be living, however they do not move while robots may not be living but they may move on their own however it also depends in what context. In most cases, います and あります are easily recognizable but in some instances, it may become challenging to know what to use. Cars may use either but it is more common to use あります than います. While there isn’t a clear-cut definition of either usage at times, it should be fairly simple to recognize the exceptions over time.

Imasu and Arimasu

On Your Own
Now it’s your turn to determine whether something is いますor あります

ドア (doa / door)
おさら (plate)
まど (window)
ロボット(robotto / robot)
つくえ (desk)
うし (cow)
うま (horse)
Using what we learned in very simple statements

It looks like you’ve got the hang of this and now we’re going to put your new knowledge to good use. Let’s say for illustrative purposes, you are pointing at various objects and want to name what they are. Simple! Just start with the object in question, followed by the particle が and ending with either います or あります。

Example 1:  Japanese: ねこがいます。
Translation: There is a cat.

Example 2:  Japanese: つこえがあります。
Translation: There is a desk.

good job learning hiragana

Practice the following by writing down the full statement (object + ga + imasu/arimasu):
ドア (doa / door)
まど (window)
ロボット(robotto / robot)
つくえ (desk)
うし (cow)
うま (horse)

The Particle も (That too is a blank and I also…)

If you want to address that the object is also in existence, then utilizing the particle も at the right moment is what will make the difference between “There is a cat” and “There is also a cat”.

There is a cat: ねこがいます。

There is also a cat: ねこもいます。

There is a window: までがあります。

There is also a window: までもあります。

Let’s expand this statement into an actual conversation.

We all like something but to stating it in Japanese is incredibly simple. Let's look at our first example:

Friend: I like apples. / わたしはりんごがすきです。
You: I like apples too. / わたしもりんごがすきです。

Bonus word Suki like

This is the most complex sentence we’ve created so far however it’s not entirely difficult with practice. Before we proceed, please remember that when わ is used as a particle such as the example above, it becomes は but is pronounced as “wa” despite it appearing as “ha”.

Let’s now break down the example
わたし (I / Person in question)
(topic marker)
りんご  (apple / object)
(associative particle)
すき (like)
です (copula)

All that we did was replace は with も because も means too or also.

If we were to simplify it even more, we are changing “I am” to “I too” and when adding the Japanese word for like (すき) after the topic marker が。

Practice with a partner
It’s now time to practice with a partner by making a statement that Partner A likes something and Partner B also likes it. Please alternate at every turn. You may use any of the words previously learned including new words included in this lesson. If you don’t have a partner, ask in the Jappleng Chat, Club Jappleng or J-Spot social network, or perhaps find friends in the Forums.

Format to use:
Person A: わたしは _____ がすきです。
Person B: わたしも_____がすきです。

I like apples in Japanese

Katakana Lesson

Welcome to the world of Katakana! No, not Katana which is a Japanese sword but Katakana, the wonderful Japanese writing system used with foreign words. When words are not native to Japanese, they are usually written in Katakana. However, that is not always the case as Katakana looks "cooler" to youth and is often used in logos, company brands, anime titles, and much more. While it's not necessarily wrong to write in Katakana, Hiragana is the preferred method for Japanese words.

Let's begin by learning the vowels in Katakana.

You may have noticed that katakana's writing style is a bit more edgy than Hiragana. There are many more uses to Katakana than some company names and foreign words. Katakana may also be used for onomatopoeia and italicizing words or adding emphasis. Katakana may be seen everywhere in Japan and it’s very important to master the writing style. Let’s also learn a few more Katakana characters in order to accelerate your introduction.


Did you notice similarities between Katakana and Hiragana yet? Some characters are very similar between the two; likewise, there are katakana characters that look very similar to each other such as ク and ケ. Be very careful and pay close attention to the subtle differences between characters. Katakana also supports diagraphs and diacritics. Let’s observe the first set for this lesson.


Onwards to the Assignment

We have learned a lot in today’s lesson but we’re only just beginning. In the assignment you will be required to practice what you have learned here not with just the words you already know but with new words using both hiragana and katakana. In the next lesson, we will be learning about the Negative tense which will allow you to form questions, new statements, and give you the ability to disagree.

You may also like to practice both your Hiragana and Katakana from one of our many practice Games found on our website. Click here to access them.
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