In Japanese to show someone or something is existing somewhere they used verbs. There are two verbs that are used to describe this, aru (ある) and iru (いる). These verbs can also be used to state that you have something. The translation of these verbs depends solely on the situation they are used in.

   Which verb you use depends on what type of thing you are talking about. Use aru (ある) if you are speaking about objects or plants (inanimate things). Use iru (いる) if you are talking about people, animals or robots etc. (animate things).

   There is a tree = ki wa aru (木はある)

   There is a person = hito wa iru (人はいる)

   (I) have a child = kodomo wa iru (子どもはいる)

   There is a police man = keisatsukan wa iru (警察官はいる)

   In Japanese, verbs have plain forms (casual) and polite forms. Polite forms are used in situations where you need to be polite. Some examples of situations are,

   • Talking to someone of higher status than you
   • Talking to someone you don't know well
   • Talking to your boss
   • Talking to one of your customers

   The polite form of aru and iru are arimasu and imasu.

   There is Hayashi = hayashi-san wa imasu (林さんはいます)

   (I) have a pencil = enpitsu wa arimasu (えんぴつはあります)

   Aru and iru have their own conjugations that are different from other verbs. Below are examples of the negative form which can mean either there isn't (doesn't exist) or don't have, depending on the situation.

   Negative polite: imasen (いません)
   Negative casual: inai (いない)

   There is not a woman = onna wa inai (女はいない)

   There is not a doctor = isha wa imasen (医者はいません)

   Negative polite: arimasen (ありません)
   Less formal negative: nai desu (ないです)
   Negative casual: nai (ない)

   (I) don't have a book = hon wa arimasen (本はありません)

   There isn't a tree = ki wa nai (木はない)

Past form

   Polite past: imashita (いました)
   Casual past: itta (いった)

   Yesterday, Tom was here = kinou, tomu wa itta (昨日、トムはいった)

   There was a dog = inu wa imashita (犬はいました)

   Polite past: arimashita (ありました)
   Casual past: atta (あった)

   There was a salad = sarada wa arimashita (サラダはありました)

   A house was here = ie wa atta (家はあった)

Negative past

   Polite past: imasen deshita (いませんでした)
   Casual past: inakatta (いなかった)

   There wasn't a student = gakusei wa imasen deshita

   There isn't a doctor = isha wa imasen (医者はいません)

   Polite past: arimasen deshita (ありませんでした)
   Casual past: nakatta (なかった)

   There wasn't a tree = ki wa nakatta (木はなかった)

   There wasn't grass = kusa wa arimasen deshita