As mentioned in our first ている
lesson, this construction is used to convey that someone or something is existing in a constant state of ‘doing’ the verb that comes before て
. Here we will take a closer look at several of the verbs that will be used with ている
, to express ‘existing in a state of (A) having been done’.
The class has already started. (Existing in the state of having started)
My mom went out to go shopping. (Existing in the state of having gone)
That dog over there is probably dead… How upsetting. (Existing in the state of having died)
My teacher is very angry. (Existing in the state of having gotten angry)
All of these verbs would appear as the past form in English, after the initial thing has ‘started’, ‘come’, ‘died’, or ‘gotten angry’. However, this is not the case in Japanese. In Japanese, once something is angry, it exists in the state of being angry, once something has started, it exists in the state of being ongoing, once something dies, it exists in the state of being dead, and so on.
One of the easiest ways that you can tell whether a verb will use the ている
form, or the past form, is to think about whether it can happen twice. Something cannot ‘start’ twice, so it will use ている
. Something cannot die twice, so it will use ている
, etc. This does not work with every verb, but will help with over 90% of the verbs that require this form.
Something has fallen and is already on the ground, so it cannot fall again. ている
will be used.