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Do you *really* understand the verb+te iru form?

The7thSamurai

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I've just learnt that I've been misunderstanding the verb+te iru form this whole time, and it sort of answers some questions that I've asked myself before, but on the other hand confuses the hell out of me!

So Genki says that there are three groups of verbs:
1) verbs that describe continuous states
2) verbs that describe activities that last for some time
3) verbs that describe changes that are more or less instantaneous

Ignoring group 1 for now as it's only really いる and ある, to determine whether or not the verb is in group 2 or 3 Genki says to check if it allows for a phrase describing duration, like 一時間. If the verb allows for the phrase, like 「昨日一時間本を読みました」 then it fits into group 2. If it doesnt allow it, like 「一時間死にました」 then it fits into group 3.

What's confusing me is that it says that the verbs 帰る、座る、行く、来る and a whole heap more are group 3 verbs.

Therefore, the sentence 「中国に行っている」 actually means "I have gone to China" and not "I am going to China".

That also means that 「座っている」 means "I have sat down" and not "I am sitting down", and 「帰っている」 means "I have come home" and not "I am going home".

So, my question is, how do you say such things has "that man sitting over there" or "I'm currently on my way home"?

Before I would have said 「あの座っている男」 and 「今帰っている」 for those sentences, but now I'm not so sure.

I guess I'm still thinking in English's "~ing" form where I should be thinking in Japanese. Problem is I still don't really know how to think in Japanese!

混乱している!
 

JimmySeal

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Bucko said:
So, my question is, how do you say such things has "that man sitting over there" or "I'm currently on my way home"?
Before I would have said 「あの座っている男」 and 「今帰っている」 for those sentences, but now I'm not so sure.

Often a single expression in Japanese can mean several different things in English depending on the situation. These can usually be further clarified by adding in extra expressions, but don't expect Japanese people to make their statements overly clear, or to understand what you're saying if you don't make your own statements extra clear. It's a double whammy.

Here's how I'd say those two things:
あそこに座っているあの男の人
今帰っているところだ。 今帰っている最中だ。 or in some situations 今帰っている途中だ。



What's a group 3 verb?
 

The7thSamurai

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See my definitions above.

Example group 2 verbs:
食べる、飲む、読む、待つ

Example group 3 verbs:
起きる、行く、帰る、来る、わかる、結婚する、借りる、座る、乗る

I guess this explains my teacher's confusion when I tried to ask why 乗っている meant 'riding' and not 'getting on'.
 

JimmySeal

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Oh I see what you mean now. Well "is sitting" is semantically the same as "has sat down" essentially, except in cases like "I have sat down many times in my life." But in that case you probably wouldn't use -te iru. If you wanted to to say "that man (who's right now in the process of) sitting down" it would probably be something like "今すわっているところのあの男の人" I guess, but probably by the time you finished saying all that, he'd have his arse firmly planted in the seat anyway.
 
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nice gaijin

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I'm not sure if あの necessary in that sentence...or if it should move to the front... just sounds weird when I read it aloud.
 

Mukade

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-ている + ところ seems a bit redundant.

帰るところ should be just fine.

And yeah, for the sitting sentence, I think I'd say:
そっち座るところの男
 

Mikawa Ossan

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JimmySeal said:
If you wanted to to say "that man (who's right now in the process of) sitting down" it would probably be something like "今すわっているところのあの男の人"
I think I would say
あそこで、ちょうど今座ろうとしている男の人
 

Buntaro

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Bucko,
Here is a thread on the subject:
Present, past form confusion? | Japan Forum

The key is to consider the English sentence

The train is stopping.

vs. the Japanese sentence

Densha ga tomatte imasu.

which have different meanings. You are right in noting the meaning of "I have gone to China" because this sentence uses the Present Perfect tense. Japanese does not have a Present Perfect tense, and so must use te + ing to convey the same idea.
 

The7thSamurai

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Buntaro,

Let me see if I get this right, 「電車が止まっています」 = "the train has stopped", not "the train is stopping", because 「止まる」 is a group 3 verb, i.e. a state of being after a process.

From that previous discussion, with a train that in the process of stopping you would say 「電車が止まります」 and you would also say that when the train is about to begin decelerating.

For the same reason, when someone is in the process of sitting down (i.e. knees bent, *** aimed at the seat!) you would say 「彼は座ります」 and after he's planted his backside on the couch 「彼は座っている」.

And when someone doesn't think they'll remember something they'd say 「忘れます」 and when they've forgotten it they'd say 「忘れている」 "I have forgotten".

And when someone is on their way home they'd say 「帰ります」, and when they've finally returned home 「帰っています」.

When someone is juuuust waking up you'd say 「起きます」 and when they're fully up and about you'd say 「起きている」.

When you're going to, or just stepping on the train, you'd say 「電車に乗る」 (literally meaning "I will get on the train") and when you're riding the train you'd say 「電車に乗っている」 (which literally means "I have got on the train"). I guess this also explains why you would say 「自転車に乗って行った」 (I went by bike) and not just 「自転車に乗った。」 which would mean "I got on my bike."

If someone has a terminal illness and is going to die you'd say 「彼が死ぬ」 meaning "he is dying", and when he finally passes it's 「死んでいる」, "he has died".

When your friend sees you eating too many hamburgers they'll say 「太る!」 and when he next sees you and you've put on 20kgs he'll say 「太っている!」 meaning "you've got fat!" or "you're fat!"

When a fireman's putting out a fire you'd say 「消す」 and when it's finally extinguished you'd say 「消している」.
 

The7thSamurai

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Ok I just read more of that last discussion about "he is dying" being "kare wa shini kakete imasu", and see that there's more to it than I thought. I haven't yet studied 'kakete imasu' but I'll keep it in mind.
 

Elizabeth

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Mukade said:
-ている + ところ seems a bit redundant.
帰るところ should be just fine.
And yeah, for the sitting sentence, I think I'd say:
そっち座るところの男
今すわっているところのあの男
I don't know about its redundancy, but this reads to me like the man that was just sitting down (as in had just sat down). A bit odd without adding a main
verb 今、男の人が、すわっているところを見ました。 (I saw the man just as he was sitting down ?)
 

The7thSamurai

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Aghh!! I just read my grammar dictionary and see what everyone is going on about with 'tokoro da'. *sigh*. So much more to learn!
 

Elizabeth

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Therefore, the sentence 「中国に行っている」 actually means "I have gone to China" and not "I am going to China".
I didn't learn this through Genki, so I have trouble with that explanation of duration. Two other possibilities :

中国に行っている (You have just gone, and may be in China now) ; 
今月下旬から、 二週間中国に行っている (You will be in China for two weeks from the end of this month).
 

undrentide

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Elizabeth said:
今すわっているところのあの男
I don't know about its redundancy, but this reads to me like the man that was just sitting down (as in had just sat down). A bit odd without adding a main
verb 今、男の人が、すわっているところを見ました。 (I saw the man just as he was sitting down ?)

To me, 今すわっているところの男 sounds like "that man who is sitting now" (not in the process of sitting down but just sitting there for some time) in 翻訳調 (ほんやくちょう) which shows the English sentence structure in Japanese.

I might say
すわろうとしている男
which can be translated as "the man who is about to sit down" to express "the man in process of sitting down".

The man who already sat down and is still sitting is
すわっている男
In this case ~ている is static. Action was already taken, and the subject is in a certain state as a result.
(Same feeling about 今、男の人が、すわっているところを見ました, to me you saw the person is sitting, not sitting down.)

I think this explains 中国に行っている, too.
He's gone to China (action in the past) and he is still there, or he is not here (result of the action).
むずかしいですね。 😅
 

Elizabeth

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(Same feeling about 今、男の人が、すわっているところを見ました, to me you saw the person is sitting, not sitting down.)
Thanks for the reality check. 😌 In textbook Japanese/English this would probably be translated "I saw the man just as he was sitting down." so I suppose I still don't get the difference with わっている人 and わっているところの人

I think this explains 中国に行っている, too.
He's gone to China (action in the past) and he is still there, or he is not here (result of the action).
むずかしいですね。😅

And finally (or perhaps not) which of these is most natural for describing a future action like this "I will be in Tokyo for two weeks" ? Of course there are others, but to just for now to keep the discussion focused on momentary/Group 3 verbs.

[2週間東京に行っている」、「2週間東京に行って来 る]
 

Buntaro

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Bucko-san!

Forgive me, but trying to figure out which verbs are in Group 3 just confuses me.

Remember that the ~masu form often is used as the future tense in Japanese. You have correctly identified 電車が止まります, 彼は座ります, 起きます, etc., as examples of future tense in Japanese.

The tricky thing is, the ~masu form in Japanese is usually future tense, while the corresponding English form, Simple Present (The train stops, He sits, I wake up) is usually present tense.

自転車に乗って行った is more the meaning of; he got on his bike and left.
 

Buntaro

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Hi everybody!

All of this brings up a question I have. Is "neru" more of an action, and "nemuru" more of a state?

Kare wa neta = He fell asleep (?)

Kare wa nemurita = He was asleep (?)
 

Elizabeth

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Buntaro said:
Hi everybody!
All of this brings up a question I have. Is "neru" more of an action, and "nemuru" more of a state?
Kare wa neta = He fell asleep (?)
Kare wa nemurita = He was asleep (?)
寝る is also evidentially a Group 2 verb because there is a present progessive tense "is sleeping" (寝ている) although it can also have the meaning "has been in bed" or " "has been sleeping" (3日間寝ている)。which is the result of an ongoing action continuing.

Group 3
知る、壊れる、死ぬ、入る、閉じる、咲く、開く、散る、倒れる、立つ、落ちる、付く、届く、座る、
触れる、行く、来る。。。
 

The7thSamurai

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Buntaro said:
Bucko-san!
Forgive me, but trying to figure out which verbs are in Group 3 just confuses

Genki, Ch7 states that:

Many verbs belong to Group 2. They include verbs such as taberu, yomu, and matsu. When the te-form if a verb in this group is followed by the helping verb iru, we have a sentence describing an action in progress.

Verbs in Group 3 describe changes from one state to another. If you get married, or kekkon suru, for example, your status changes from being single to being married. With these verbs, teiru indicates a past occurrence of a change which has retained its signigicance until the present moment. In other words, teiru describes the result of a change.

So to determine whether or not a verb fits into Group 2 or 3, you would look at the "beginning" of the action to see whether or not a change in the person's state occurs. This explains why suwaru is a Group 3, because the action at the beginning changes the state of the person after the action is completed. You can also see why kesu fits into this category too. Because the beginning of the action changes the final state of being.
 

undrentide

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Elizabeth said:
Thanks for the reality check. 😅 In textbook Japanese/English this would probably be translated "I saw the man just as he was sitting down." so I suppose I still don't get the difference with わっている人 and わっているところの人

One thing to note about ~しているところ: it cannot be placed in front of the noun like adjective.
We can say
その人はすわっているところです。 (which could mean either the person is sitting or just sitting down)
but we cannot say
すわっているところの人
It does not sound natural as Japanese.

You can say
すわっている人 (the person who is sitting/who has been sitting - the action of sitting down is completed and as a result he is sitting.)
すわろうとしている人 (the person who is now in process of sitting down, or who is about to sit down - the action has not completed yet)

Sorry I do not know grammatical terms to explain the difference properly... I hope it makes sense. 😌

Elizabeth said:
And finally (or perhaps not) which of these is most natural for describing a future action like this "I will be in Tokyo for two weeks" ? Of course there are others, but to just for now to keep the discussion focused on momentary/Group 3 verbs.
[2週間東京に行っている」、「2週間東京に行って来 る]

Basically, as far as the verb いる is used, it cannot mean the future.
I'm not sure what is the closest word in English, maybe "being"?
It suggests someone/something is (already) in a certain state.
Therefore it can mean (1) the action is in progress right now (2) the action was already completed.

I think that when talking about yourself, it can be rather confusing.
(I vaguely remember that Japanese language does not really have tense but use aspect instead....)

I'm not confident if I can clarify the difference between these two sentences, but I'll try.

2週間東京に行っている
This can be talking about the future event/situation, but the future of the action 東京に行く itself.
I'll go to Tokyo for two weeks, and during that period (after the action of "going to Tokyo" is completed) I will be in Tokyo (and will not be here).

When I'm saying this (= 2週間東京に行っている), my mind is already in the future situation I will be* after going to Tokyo. I'm looking at the action as something already happened.

*If the time is a kind of line and we see it like shooting a flim - in English we see the "time" from one fixed point, just like shooting a film with one camera which is fixed on one point.
In Japanese, we see it from various points - like shooting a film with many cameras placed in several places.

2週間東京に行ってくる
This sentence implies that I'm going to Tokyo and stay there for two weeks, and I intend to come back.
The action of "going to Tokyo" has not happened yet.
 

undrentide

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Buntaro said:
Hi everybody!
All of this brings up a question I have. Is "neru" more of an action, and "nemuru" more of a state?
Kare wa neta = He fell asleep (?)
Kare wa nemurita = He was asleep (?)

neru 寝る is to go to bed (or futon) to lie down but not necessarily to sleep.
nemuru 眠る is to sleep.

kare wa neta = he went to bed, he might have fell asleep, but there's a possibility that he just lied down on the bed but still awake.
kare wa nemutta = he fell asleep, he went to sleep, he slept.
 

The7thSamurai

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underentide, you're doing my head in!

So...「2週間東京に行っている」 First looks at the future action of 'iku', then the present action of 'iru'. If I'm right then I see what you mean about the different "cameras" along several places of a time line. It's like saying "For two weeks I will go to Tokyo, (camera point then changes to the point of being in Tokyo) then be in Tokyo".
 

undrentide

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Bucko said:
undrentide, you're doing my head in!
So...「2週間東京に行っている」 First looks at the future action of 'iku', then the present action of 'iru'. If I'm right then I see what you mean about the different "cameras" along several places of a time line. It's like saying "For two weeks I will go to Tokyo, (camera point then changes to the point of being in Tokyo) then be in Tokyo".

Yes, you got it! 👍
But this applies only when I'm talking about myself, or about yourself.
When it is about the third person, it simply means the person has already gone and is now in Tokyo (and he is not here).

The reason I said "I think that when talking about yourself, it can be rather confusing" is that when we are talking ourselves (i.e. we are 行っている), it cannot be about the present (as we are still here talking), so it can be only about the future event (we will go and will not be here, but there).

Hmmm, I hope I did not make it too much complicated! 😅
 

Elizabeth

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undrentide said:
Yes, you got it! :cool:
But this applies only when I'm talking about myself, or about yourself.
When it is about the third person, it simply means the person has already gone and is now in Tokyo (and he is not here).
The reason I said "I think that when talking about yourself, it can be rather confusing" is that when we are talking ourselves (i.e. we are 行っている), it cannot be about the present (as we are still here talking), so it can be only about the future event (we will go and will not be here, but there).
Hmmm, I hope I did not make it too much complicated! 😅
Does this convention of not using いっている about a third party still apply
though if the person clearly hasn't left yet or there is context on time in the sentence ? :? 今月下旬から、彼は二週間に東京に行っています。
 
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