Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 7: 5/13

~ている ②
State of being, Has (have) done

ている is often shortened to てる. This applies to all tenses, including てる, てて, てた, and even てます

Verb[て]+ いる
Verb[て]+ (*)

(*) The い can be omitted in casual language.
Verb[て]+ います
Verb[て]+ ます(*)

(*) The い can be omitted in casual language.
Part of Speech Conjunctive Particle
Word Type Verb
Register Standard
品詞 接続助詞
単語の種類 動詞
使用域 一般
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 . 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’.
  • クラス始(はじ)まっている
    The class has already started. (Existing in the state of having started)
  • お母(かあ)さん今(いま)買(か)い物(もの)行(い)っています
    My mom went out to go shopping. (Existing in the state of having gone)
  • あの犬(いぬ)死(し)んでいるだろう、悲(かな)し
    That dog over there is probably dead… How upsetting. (Existing in the state of having died)
  • 先生(せんせい)めちゃ怒(おこ)っている
    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.
Fun Fact
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.
  • ピアノ落(お)ちている
    The piano has fallen. (Existing in the state of having fallen)
Something has fallen and is already on the ground, so it cannot fall again. ている will be used.
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The bus is in Osaka now. (The bus has come to Osaka and is there now.)
[Be careful, movement words like いく、帰る、and くる can also be interpreted as progressive actions, so depending on the context, it can also mean “The bus is going to Osaka now.” If you want to convey progressive action in a clear way, you can use 向かう (バスは今大阪に向かっている).]
The party has begun. (The party has begun and is still going on.)
The train is in Tokyo. (The train has gone to Tokyo and is there.)
[Like a previous example, this sentence can be interpreted as “The train is going to Tokyo.”]
Maggie Sensei
Tae Kim
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 117
みんなの日本語 I
Page 93 [CH 14]