Jul 8, 2008
In Japanese, the verb aru is used to signify the existence of something, while the verb iru is used to signify the existence of someone. They shouldn't be used interchangeably, even though their meanings are the same.
You would do well to get acquainted with these two Japanese verbs, because they are used so frequently. Aru is for inanimate subjects or objects while iru, is for animate subjects or objects Iru is used when speaking of the existence of living things but more particularly, people; Aru is used when speaking of the existence of things (inanimate objects, books, pens, lakes, trees. If it breathes use iru if not use aru. Here is a summary and examples
IRU (v. to be) - People, Animals
ARU (v. to be) - Place, Things
There is a book on the table. - Teburu no ue ni hon ga arimasu.
I have a red car. - Akai kuruma ga arimasu.
How many marbles do you have? - B-dama ikutsu arimasu ka?
However, when dealing with live breathing creatures (Like animals and humans, even some insects like the kabutomushi) we use iru
Is Mr. Tanaka Home - Tanakasan irrashaimasu ka or
Tanakasan imasu ka? Or just
To which one could reply, "Hai, orimasu." "Yes, he is home."
I have 6 cats. - Neko roppiki ga imasu.
3. How many brothers do you have? - Kyo^dai nannin imasu ka?
As always, Do your Best! Ganbatte Ne!