Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 3: 7/22

something is possible・sometimes・occasionally, there are times when

Different meaning from

Verb[る](1) + こと + (2)ある
[い]Adjective + こと + (2)ある
[な]Adjective + + こと + (2)ある

(1) Verb[ない]
Verb[る](1) + こと + (2)あります
[い]Adjective + こと + (2)あります
[な]Adjective + + こと + (2)あります

(1) Verb[ない]
Register Standard
使用域 一般
ことがある is an expression in Japanese that combines the 名詞(めいし) (noun) こと with the 格助詞(かくじょし) (case marking particle) が, and the う - Verb, ある. It is often translated as ‘to be possible’, ‘to occasionally occur’, or ‘to sometimes occur’. However, the more literal translation of ことがある is ‘(A) is a thing that exists’.
ことがある may be paired with the 連体形(れんたいけい) (attributive form) of any other word.
  • この馬(うま)は人(ひと)蹴(け)ることがあるので、馬(うま)後(うし)ろに立(た)たないで下(くだ)さい
    This horse kicks people sometimes, so please don't stand behind him.
  • タナカ先生(せんせい)授業(じゅぎょう)はたまに楽(たの)しいことがある
    There are times where Mr. Tanaka's classes are fun.
  • 仕事(しごと)はだいたい大変(たいへん)だけれども、たまには楽(らく)なことがある
    Work is usually difficult, but there are times where it is easy.
Occasionally, が may be replaced by も. In these situations, it implies that ‘(A) is also a thing that exists’. Basically this just highlights that (A) is something that needs to be considered (among other things).
  • 仕事(しごと)は楽(たの)しいけど、大変(たいへん)なこともある。
    Work is fun, but there are times where it gets difficult.
  • 先生(せんせい)はいつも怒(おこ)っているけど、優(やさ)しいこともある。
    Our teacher is always angry, but there are times when he is nice.
ことがある differs from たことがある (a phrase commonly paired with the past form of verbs). たことがある highlights a single event in which the (A) verb was completed. However, when the verb is not in past form, it simply implies that there are ‘times’ when the verb happens, as opposed to a single/specific time.
  • 週(しゅう)に1回(かい)ペースラーメン食(た)べることがある
    There are times when I go to eat ramen once a week.
  • このラーメンは食(た)べたことがあると思(おも)う
    I think I have eaten this ramen before.
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I sometimes get a ride to school.
There are times when my friend sleeps until two in the afternoon.
There are days where I eat ramen two or three times.
Marugoto Elementary 1 (A2) Rikai
Page 122
Page 18
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 198
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 236