Possessive Usage of Aru and Motte iru

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Other Title
  • 所有の「ある」と「もっている」
  • ショユウ ノ アル ト モッテ イル

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The Japanese verb aru sometimes means "to have" or "to possess," e.g. "saino ga aru (to have talent)." The usage of aru which expresses possession and motte iru are similar, but there are some differences. Although "saino ga aru" can be paraphrased into "saino o motte iru," the phrase "sodan ga aru (to have a consultation)" cannot be changed into "*sodan o motte iru" (*connotes an ungrammatical phrase). On the other hand, "nihonkiroku o motte iru (to hold a national record)" cannot be changed into "*nihonkiroku ga aru". This paper clarifies the conditions of using possessive aru and using motte iru respectively, and explains the differences in the usages of these two words. The main points are as follows: (A) "X (ni) wa Y ga aru" is used when 1) X possesses Y inalienably and "to possess Y" means an attribute of X, or 2) "Y ga aru" means a situation of X, or a factor controlling X. (B) "motte iru" means 1) "to have (hold) something in one's hand", or 2) "to possess estate or a kind of property", or 3) "to take charge of something under one's responsibillty."



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