Grammar Study Notes (てある)
Learn Japanese grammar: てある (te aru) is used when something is intentionally done and you can see the resulting state of that action.
It is similar to using past tense form, but different in that it places emphasis on the action being done intentionally and the end result still being visible. This is easier to understand with examples, but first let’s look at the formation.
How to conjugate てある (te aru)
This grammar point requires you convert the verb to て-form. After you do that, all you do is add ある at the end. In case you need it, here is a reminder on how to conjugate て-form. If not, skip ahead to the examples.
|Ending||Dictionary||Changes to...||て form|
|う verbs (u)|
|す||話す（はなす）||す → して||話して（はなして）|
|く → いて
ぐ → いで
|む → んで
ぶ → んで
ぬ → んで
|る → って
う → って
つ → って
|る Verbs (ru)|
|食べる（たべる）||る → て||食べて（たべて）|
|Irregular Verbs (exceptions)|
Example 1) 作った VS 作ってある
This example will focus on the difference between using past form and てある (te aru) form.
1.1) Using 作った
ashita no bentou wa mou tsukutta.
I (have) already made tomorrow’s bento (lunch).
1.2) Using 作ってある
ashita no bentou wa mou tsukutte aru.
Tomorrow’s bento (lunch) has been prepared already.
At first glance, these sentences may seem very similar in meaning, but there are some key differences you should be aware of.
Example 1.1 simply says that the task was done. Example 1.2 does that as well, but also expresses that the task was done intentionally and focuses on the result of the action. In this case, that the bento lunch has been prepared and is ready.
Some more examples
doa ga akete aru.
The door has been left open (intentionally).
In this case, it’s a bit more clear that the focus is on the end result. Not on the action of opening the door, but that the door has been left open.
Example 3) てあった (te atta) past tense
hozon shite atta fairu ga kiete shimatta.
The file I had saved (prepared) was deleted.
This case focuses on the preparation that was done; the file was already saved and prepared.
Extra Study Notes
In summary, てある (te aru) is used to show a task that was completed with focus on:
- The task was done intentionally (maybe for preparation)
- The resulting state from having done the action (e.g. the window was left open)
This grammar can ONLY be used with transitive verbs. The form will almost always look like this:
Subject + (が / は / を) + transitive verb + てある
Related Grammar Lessons
ている (te iru)– ongoing action or current state
Difference between てある and ている (lesson coming soon)
がある (ga aru)– there is; is (non-living things)
がいる (ga iru ) there is; is (living things)
Example Sentences (例文)
Example sentences are separated so you can focus on one at a time. Click the example number to change to a new example sentence. Each sentence includes a Japanese hint, romaji reading, and English translation.
shukudai wa mou yatte arimasu.My homework has already been finished. (focus on the fact that the homework is done)
yoru ni wa gakkou no iriguchi ga shimete aru.At night, the school entrance is closed.
koko ni nante kaite arimasu ka?What is written (has been wrote) here?
Vocabulary List (語彙「ごい」)
|Kanji 漢字||Kana 仮名||English 英語|
|開ける||あける||to open (transitive)|
|消える||きえる||to erase; delete (transitive)|
|閉める||しめる||to close (transitive)|
Vocabulary items are displayed based on the order they appear in the grammar lesson.