Does a virus take いる or ある?

Viruses are in the gray area of being alive or not alive so do they take いる or ある ?

Edit: Also, I did google this first, but got confusing results!

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ある as do plants, even though those are firmly in the alive category.

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Don’t know why you got conflicting search results, feels like there should be more consensus there. Yeah, the former is for animate beings, so animals and humans. I’ve seen learners use the former to indicate plants, but AFAIK that’s wrong.

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Wouldn’t that require people to be somewhat knowledgeable about viruses? When you think of what the average English speaker knows about viruses, you can imagine why some Japanese people might use one or the other verb.

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Right, many don’t know a lot about viruses, that’s understandable. But when OP searches his question, the answers should presumably be from people who are confident they know which correct verb to use. So perhaps those that aren’t knowledgeable about viruses shouldn’t be answering this very technical question about them. But the internet isn’t just made up of expertise, so there’s that.

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Funnily enough, I don’t think any of the 新しコロナウイルス coverage I’ve seen on NHK has ever used a sentence construction requiring いる/ある when talking about it. It may just be that when discussing something in a gray area, they avoid the issue.

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The coronavirus absolutely takes ある. I hear this on NHK occasionally and fairly frequently from Japanese people around me.

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Sounds… Like something that would happen in Japan, when there’s an issue in a grey area, just avoid the issue lol

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At the same time, it’s actually kind of hard to imagine scenarios where you would need such a verb when reporting the news. Usually you’re going to be talking about infections, deaths, spread, etc… You don’t need to talk about the existence of the virus in a particular location that way.

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That’s definitely true, I was just making an ungrounded generalization to policital issues etc…

I tried to think of a sentence where you would literally say “there is corona”, but nothing comes to mind.

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Definitely ある

My class covered that question a few weeks ago with our native Japanese teacher.

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Thanks everyone! I had to write a short essay in Japanese about my birthday. Basically why I was asking is because I was saying “Coronavirus exists, so I had to stay home”. (I’m not going to put what I wrote in Japanese here because I already submitted it and I don’t want to know what I wrote wrong before I get feedback from the teacher :open_mouth: :joy: )

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Idk about japanese itself, but viruses are still being debated as being alive or dead in the scientific community iirc and so if op was trying to search purely on that (and then determine iru or aru) then I’m not surprised there were conflicting results

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So which do I use for a Venus Fly Trap?

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コロナだから、家に永遠に住んでいる :smiley: :wink:

Yeah, this is the kind of sentence I was imagining you might be trying to write… But it’s kind of strange in English too, no? Coronavirus will still exist after we can all return to normal.

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Tangentially related, but interestingly for robots いる is used.

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Yes, definitely an awkward way of phrasing it. I guess what my real meaning (and maybe should have phrased it differently in my essay) was:

The Coronavirus pandemic exists, therefore I had to stay home.

Or maybe it’s the ある exist that’s awkward? I’m kind of limited by my Genki I grammar.

Either way, yeah, that use of ある is a bit awkward. A natural way to say it would be something like 新型コロナウイルスの影響でずっと家にいる, but that’s something you just get used to over time from hearing people talk about stuff. Over time you move from trying to translate English thoughts to just having Japanese thoughts.

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Yes, I’m excited for that to eventually kick in (if I get to that point). As it is now, for the simple writing assignments we have, I’m conceiving my sentences in English while trying to limit myself to expressing things using the grammar I currently know in Japanese.

As you can imagine, because most of our practice is via worksheets and workbooks and doing exercises in class (via zoom these days), I don’t get too much practice thinking my own thoughts about my own life and interests in Japanese. (And even if I did, it’s not like I’d get feedback to know if it was correctly worded or not.) Oh well, it’s definitely better than nothing and at least I get to speak Japanese five days a week.

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