がる (garu) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Show Signs of

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'がる (garu) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Show Signs of'

Sandro Maglione

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がる (garu) Meaning Japanese Grammar - Show Signs of

The verb がる (garu) used as a suffix means to feel, to think, to be in the state of.

がる is a godan verb that literally indicates that someone shows signs of being in a certain state.

がる is used to say how other people feel or behave based on an external impression.

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

How がる is formed

がる is a godan verb meaning to show signs of, to act like. がる is mainly used as a suffix applied to adjectives in い and adjectives in な:

Adjective[without い]+がる

Let's see some examples:

  • (つよ)い is an adjective in い meaning strong. When conjugated with がる its meaning becomes pretend to be strong (literally show signs of being strong)
  • (いや) is an adjective in な that means unpleasant. When conjugated with がる its meaning becomes seem uncomfortable

How and when to use がる

がる is used in Japanese to say how another person seems to feel.

In Japanese is important the distinction between saying how other people seem to feel and saying how they actually feel.

In Japanese you don't say how another person feels, that's because you can't really know. Instead, がる is used to indicate "it seems to be..."

For this reason the original meaning of がる is appears to be, seems to be, behaves as if it were.


My little brother acts like he is strong.

As we saw earlier, (つよ)がる means to pretend to be strong. This example sentence translated literally becomes ...show signs of being strong.

たがる - What someone wants

When がる is used in combination with the auxiliary verb たい the expression たがる is formed. It is also possible to use the form ている with adjectives conjugated with がる:

Verb[たい without い]+がる

たがる is used to express how another person feels, behaves, or what another person wants.


She wants to see a movie.


Mike is afraid of dogs.

In this example, がる is used since we are referring to what another person feels or perceives.

It is not possible to know for sure what someone other than us feels personally, for this reason we use the verb がる ((こわ)がっている).

When you want to express your own feeling or desire instead you use たい.


I want to become strong.

There is no need to add がる when quoting how someone says they feel (particle と) or when expressing uncertainty in other ways (for example with と思う, そう, らしい).


Mike said he was afraid of dogs.

Examples of がる


He was scared to death.


The child wants to sleep.


Everyone wants to use it.