がある (gaaru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - There Is

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'がある (gaaru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - There Is'

Sandro Maglione

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がある (gaaru) Meaning Japanese Grammar - There Is

The expression がある means there is or there are and is used for inanimate objects (as opposed to いる which is used for living beings).

がある is the combination of:

  • Particle が (subject)
  • Verb ある (to exist)

がある is a very common expression in the Japanese language, so it is important to be able to recognize and understand it in various contexts.

In this post we learn more about the meaning of がある, how it is formed, and when がある is used through real example sentences.

How がある is formed

As we saw in the introduction, がある is the combination of the particle が and the verb ある. がある follows nouns to indicate there is, there are, or exists:


The が in がある is often omitted in colloquial speech

You can also find the Kanji form of ある: ()る.

How and when to use がある

がある is used in any situation where we want to indicate that an inanimate object exists or "there is".




That's enough, there's no time, do it!

In this example, the negative form がない is used to indicate that there is no time (()(かん) time).

Polite form of ある

The polite form of ある is あります.


Note how the hiragana ~る of ある is changed to ~り in the polite form. We can therefore deduce that ある is a Godan verb (verb in う)


There is a television in the room.

Difference between がある and はある

The same verb ある can be used in combination with the particle は instead of が: はある. However, はある has a different meaning, which derives from the sense of comparison and contrast expressed by the particle は. When we use はある we are in fact saying that something exists, but the rest isn't there. Let's see an example to understand this nuance:



Neko-chan, do you have any money?



No, I don't have any money.

In this example the answer uses がない. がない indicates that there is no money ((かね)), without specifying or implying any extra information. Instead we see the same situation with はない:



Neko-chan, do you have any money?



No, If we are talking about money I don’t have them.

In this case the use of the particle は in はない indicates a sense of contrast: there are no money, but I may have something else (I don't have money (but I have something else...)). In fact, はない is used to indicate that the noun that precedes ((かね)) is not there, but I want to imply that there is something else. はある is often found in combination with expressions that indicate contrast: けど, が, けれども



Neko-chan, do you have any money?



No, I don't have the money, but I'm happy (all the same).

Let's see another example, in this case with the expression ()(かん)がない and ()(かん)はない:




No time for this!

In this example we notice from the tone of voice how critical the situation is. The character shouts that There is no time using the particle は. The use of は emphasizes the fact that at the moment there is absolutely no time to do the above (そんな).

Examples of がある


There are also individual differences though


There are convictions.