Pointing Words v. いる and ある

How would y’all describe the difference between using words like これ、この、ここ、etc. and いる/あう? They seem to be literally translated in a similar way in English so I imagine they are different functionally in Japanese.




The first of those is a grammatically correct sentence. The second is not – it is at best half a sentence; in particular it is missing a verb. Literal translation into English will lead you down a rabbit hole of confusion. You should really find a good basic grammar resource (textbook, or otherwise) and work through it.


for これ、この、ここ you’re stumbling on a grammar pattern here of the あ・そ・こ・ど family
any words in this family that start with こ are about being close to the speaker

ここ is the easiest to explain because unlike the other two, it refers to location, ‘here’
like 「僕はここです」‘i am here’, 「リンゴはここですか」‘is the apple here? (the point closer to me than the person I’m asking)’

これ and この are more similar, it was explained to me that この is just これの
they both refer to things closer to the speaker than the listener and can be thought of as ‘this’
Like 「この写真を見る」‘look at this photograph’ vs これは写真です’ ‘this is a photograph’
これ is a noun on it’s own
but この attaches to a noun like ‘this thing’

それ、その、そこ follow the same rules except for meaning things closer to the listener than the speaker

あれ、あの、あそこ similarly, means the same things except they are not close to the speaker or the listener
「あそこはメッカです」 ‘Mecca is over there’ (imagine I’m talking to my friend and pointing east, even though we’re in a country far away from Saudi Arabia

どれ、どの、どこ is a bit tougher to explain but basically it’s the question versions (so like, which/where)
「トイレはどこですか」(where is the toilet?) is an important question you may need to ask someday


ah wait I think i misunderstood what you were asking I’m sorry :sweat_smile:

to properly answer your question いる・ある are like ‘this thing exists’

「いぬがいる」 there is a dog (where is the dog? Somewhere! could be near you, the person you’re speaking to, on the opposite side of the room from both you and who you’re talking to)

Imagine you’re walking home from work/school
it was really boring but then suddenly a dog steps out of nowhere and brightens your day with it’s presence!
There’s a dog!
there wasn’t one in your boring life before but now there is! It exists!

これはいぬです。is saying ‘this is a dog’
like someone asked what sort of animal you were holding, so you had to tell them it was a dog and not a cat or a rabbit

「このいぬ」 isn’t a full sentence but its like ‘this dog’
so 「このいぬはおおきい」This dog is big

「そこはいぬです」 is about the location of the dog
the focus of the sentence is ‘there’ closer to the listener than the speaker
is where a dog is
‘いぬはどこですか’ someone might ask you, worried because they don’t know where their dog is
But the dog is ‘there’
right next to them, so no worries


いる and ある are verbs. What they’re doing is simply stating that something exists.

ここ, そこ, etc are places. They’re telling you specifically where something is.

犬がいる - “There is a dog.” Not ‘there’ as in “in that place”, just that a dog exists somewhere.

犬はそこ(です) - “A dog is there.” A dog is in that location (points).

I think what’s probably tripping you up is the usage of the word “there”. In いる/ある it is not being used to mean a place. This is English’s fault for using the same word for two different things.


you did a great job summarizing all of that regardless! :clap:


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