Using ある at the start of a sentence?

I was doing some Japanese reading practice and noticed a couple sentences that began with ある.

あるところに男がいました。
ある夜、男の家におじいさんが来ました。

What does the ある mean in this case? I haven’t learned this. Also, can someone point me to the chapter in Tae Kim that talks about this, assuming there is one?

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https://jisho.org/word/或

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Yes, this is effectively a separate, though etymologically related, word.

Other than ある being kind of a separate word by now, you can modify nouns by placing verbs in front of it, like

食べたケーキ the cake I ate
眼鏡をかけている女の人 the woman who is wearing glasses

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Am I missing something? (Also, hello Saida.)

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Hola Kazzeon! Maybe just that ある meaning ‘a certain’ is derived from the verb ある?

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I mean about the “modify nouns by placing verbs in front of it” part.

Edit: Oh, I think I get what you mean.

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Like how adjectives modify nouns?

冷たい川 the cold river
流れる川 the streaming river

I couldn’t think of the phrase ‘relative clause’ I guess.

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No, I know. Haha.

But I was unsure about how it was related.

You meant that ある was modifying ところ, right?

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Yes, and 夜 in the second example.

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Are they the same grammatically, though?

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Well, as @Leebo said they’re etymologically related, yes. But I mostly mentioned it because the OP seemed most surprised by seeing a verb at the start of a sentence, figured that by extension they were surprised to see it in front of nouns as well.

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That’s fair.

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