Grammar Info
N2 Lesson 4: 8/18

-ing, be -ing

Verb[ます+ つつある
Verb[ます+ つつあります
Register Formal
使用域 硬い
When the particle つつ ‘while doing’ is combined with ある ‘to be’, it indicates that someone or something is in the ongoing process of (A). (A) will be a verb in its ます-stem form. This formal grammar structure primarily highlights that (A) is slowly but surely continuing or changing. This ‘change’ is often in regard to an increase, decrease, expansion, contraction, or something similar.
This pattern can be translated simply as ‘to be (A)ing’.
  • 毎年(まいとし)、年金(ねんきん)の受給額(じゅきゅうがく)が減(へ)りつつあるので、生活(せいかつ)に困(こま)っている高齢者(こうれいしゃ)が増(ふ)えてきている。
    Every year, more and more elderly people are having trouble making ends meet because their pension benefits are decreasing.
  • 日本(にほん)では物価(ぶっか)が上(あ)がりつつある
    Prices in general are rising in Japan.
  • 最近(さいきん)はインターネットを使(つか)って買(か)い物(もの)ができるので、わざわざお店(みせ)に行(い)って買(か)い物(もの)をする人(ひと)が減(へ)りつつある
    These days, people can shop using the Internet, so fewer people are going out of their way to go to stores to shop.
Caution - Compared to ている, つつある tends not to be used in relation to physical motions, and only highlights ‘(A)ing’ in regard to actions that indicate an ongoing state of change, rather than simply ‘continuing’.
  • 彼(かれ)はりんごを食(た)べている
    He is eating an apple. (Natural Japanese)
  • 彼(かれ)はりんごを食(た)べつつある
    He is eating an apple. (Unnatural Japanese)
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It is a pity that the number of wild animals in Africa is decreasing.
In recent years, the economical relationship between country A and country B is strengthening. However, when it comes to the military, small-scale conflicts close to the border do not cease.
There are countries that are changing into deserts (undergoing desertification) due to global warming. There are also island countries that are sinking into the ocean.
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 332
Page 13-5
Quartet II
Page 9
A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar
Page 542