Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 10: 2/12

~ている ③
Has/have done, Is ~ing (repetition)

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[] +
Verb[て]+ います
Verb[て]+ ます
Verb[] + ります
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
The 3rd most common meaning (in no specific order) that ている is used for in Japanese, is the repetition of common activities. This is for things that are not ‘continuing’, but happen so often that they are considered to be continuous (like going to work, having a hobby, and similar things).
  • 私(わたし)毎日(まいにち)ギター弾(ひ)いている
    I play my guitar everyday. (This is a hobby of the speaker)
  • 毎晩(まいばん)9時(じ)寝(ね)ている
    I sleep at 9 every night. (This is a habit of the speaker)
  • 彼(かれ)学校(がっこう)働(はたら)いている
    He works at a school. (This is a regular activity of the speaker)
Due to いる being one of the verbs for ‘existing’ in Japanese, the ている form is closer to ‘continuing to exist in a specific state’, rather than (A)~ing in English. In this construction, it can be thought of as ‘to be existing in the state of performing a regular activity’.
With this meaning of ている, to make it easier to understand, expressions of time are often used. This can be things like 毎日(まいにち), 毎晩(まいばん), 毎週(まいしゅう), and similar phrases.
Fun Fact
Regularly in novels, manga, and specifically some parts of Japan, とる may be used instead of ている with the same meaning.
  • 俺(おれ)、毎日(まいにち)勉強(べんきょう)しとる
    I study every day.
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I go to the supermarket every Friday night. (I am going...)
[When expressing repeated action, the short form can also be used in many cases having the same meaning. Therefore 行く can also be used here.]
Fuutarou-san studies history every day with Miku. (Fuutarou-san is studying...)
The Demon Lord works at Burger Queen. (The Demon Lord is working...)
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 117