がいる (ga iru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - There Is

Author Anna Baffa Volpe for article 'がいる (ga iru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - There Is '

Anna Baffa Volpe

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がいる (ga iru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - There Is

The form がいる (ga iru) means to be, to exist, there is, there are, to be in a place.

It is the verb to be that expresses existence and refers to living creatures, unlike がある which describes inanimate objects instead.

In this post we are going to see how to use がいる and what meaning it conveys, through real examples of its use.

How いる is formed in Japanese

The form consists of:

  • the particle が following the subject in the sentence
  • the verb いる transcribed in kanji ()る, be referring to people and animals

Recently it has been discussed that plants are also sentient beings and therefore いる and not ある should be used.


In colloquial speech, the particle が is often omitted.

いる is an Ichidan verb; the various forms of the verb are obtained by removing the syllable る and adding the suffixes.


There's a tortoise there!



There is nobody.



There was a friend.

As we will see in this post, the forms がある and がいる also translate the verb to have.

The previous sentence can also mean:

  • I had friends
  • I had a friend


Mayumi was not there.

がいる exist, be in a place

がいる translates the verb 'there + be, indicates the fact of being in a place and is also called the verb to be of existence.

It includes all living beings in creation.

The other verb translating to be is だ/です called the verb to be of identification.


There are 3 giraffes in that zoo.

In this sentence we find one of the numeric suffixes or counters: (とう) used to count big animals.

Polite form of がいる

The polite form of いる is います.




Who is in the room?



There is only the teacher.

When we find だけ only in the sentence, we do not use the particle が.

いる expressing possession

いる and ある also translate the aspect of possession expressed by the verb have.

  • or には the particles describing the possessor
  • refers to the thing possessed

Example using がある


That man is courageous.

Literally: That man has courage.

Example using がいる


Keiko has two children.

Examples of がいる


Mum is in the office.


I have Indian friends.


There are many squirrels in this park.