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住んでいるのが好きです is a fragment of a sentence that is incorrectly constructed - the correct way to say "I like living in [place] would be 住むのが好きです. But why is this?

In the present tense, the usual way to say "I live in [place]" is to use the state-of-being 〜ている, e.g., 私は日本に住んでいます。By that logic, "I like living in [place]" should really be "I like the state of living in [place]", or 住んでいるのが好きです. But this sounds weird to me - and the multiple native speakers I've asked have said this is incorrect. Can someone shed some light on the reason?

ているのが好き as a construction is definitely not forbidden, as a search on alc.co.jp shows.

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住んでいるのが好き gives me 43 Google hits and 住むのが好き gives me 249. I wouldn't say 住んでいるのが好き is wrong, but it is slightly less common and has a slightly different nuance. Who told you it was incorrect? – dainichi Jul 30 '14 at 3:14
Was there any context when they gave their judgments? – snailplane Jul 30 '14 at 3:35
@dainichi, what sort of difference is there in meaning? I was told this by multiple Japanese teachers, all native speakers. As for context, not much; just going for as close of a translation for "I like living in [place]" in English. – theycallmezeal Jul 31 '14 at 0:45
Your teachers probably didn't want to complicate things and therefore just taught you the simplest/most useful version. Here's a dictionary with an example ejje.weblio.jp/sentence/content/… 彼女は町に住んでいるのが好きではありませんでした – dainichi Jul 31 '14 at 2:33

Strictly speaking these two sentences have completely different meaning:

  • 住んでいるのが好き。 - This means that you like the fact someone is living (somewhere). This could be you too, but that's not very clear way to tell it. Let's drop all the wrong usages of this phrase.
  • 住むのが好き 。 - This means you like to live (somewhere).
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Meh, I just asked my wife (native Japanese) for her opinion on this. I gave her four sentences and asked her to rank them by "naturalness". She says none of them are "wrong", but that the ~ている forms are much more natural sounding to her. I've marked their order of naturalness:


I don't have any mumbo jumbo technical grammar points to offer, and I only have the experience of living in Japan for 5 years so my opinion is far from gospel, but I also tend to lean towards ここに住んでいるのが好きです as being the choice I would go to.

As a bonus, you can also say something like:


to express a similar idea to the one originally posed, and I think that these are both grammatically and "naturally" correct.

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@Tim No, not at all. It just refers to the fact that I'm a simpleton and don't really have actual evidence to back up my answer :) – CptSupermrkt Jul 31 '14 at 17:55

I raised a similar question about the tense of verbs modifying nouns, which I think also applies here - the only difference is that the nominaliser の is being modified instead of a regular noun. Other users can give their assessment of the answer which I got from a teacher of Japanese.

Short answer:
The plain and "past"/"perfect" stative verbs are more objective and are therefore more likely to be used in the media. The present progressive (〜ているの)is more subjective and therefore more likely to be used by the person performing the act.

Full answer (including non-stative verbs):

I wanted to know the difference between expressions where the verb modifying a noun is in dictionary form, past-perfect form or ている form.

Expression prompting my question: 会話能力を持った初の人間型ロボットキロボ

(ie: 持ったN vs 持つN&持っているN)

The answer was as follows:

(I can translate if there is enough demand):




山の上に立つ家・立っている家・立った家 (全てOK)


山に登る人(未来or 繰り返しのアクション)・

Regarding the difference between stative verb forms 山の上に立つ家・立っている家・立った家 (or in your case 住んでいるの vs 住むの):

The plain and "past"/"perfect" verbs are more objective and are therefore more likely to be used in the media. The present progressive (〜ているの)is more subjective and therefore more likely to be used by the person performing the act.

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I don't have an analytical answer to this question. But empirically speaking, it seems like "dictionary form + のが好き" is much more common than "~ている + のが好き".

To be more specific, searching the BCCWJ corpus via Shonagon, I've found that

  • "~て・でいる + のが好き" returned 26 hits
  • "dictionary form + のが好き" returned 623 hits after adjustments (actual number might be a bit lower)

In short, I don't know if 「住んでいるのが好きです」 is incorrect or not, but judging by the numbers 「住むのが好きです」 is the more common way of saying "I like living in [place]".

Appendix: Breakdown of number of hits for various のが好き constructs

These numbers are true at the time of writing. Team #3 is mostly for eliminating non-dictionary form hits for team #2.

  1. Team "~ている + のが好き" → 26

    • ているのが好き:17
    • でいるのが好き:9
  2. Team "dictionary form + のが好き" → ~623

    • むのが好き:36
    • すのが好き:34
    • くのが好き:74 excluding ていくのが好き (80 including)
    • るのが好き:410 excluding ている・でいる・てくれる・てあげる + のが好き (440 including)
    • うのが好き:49 excluding てしまう・てもらう + のが好き (52 including)
    • つのが好き:2
    • ぐのが好き:4
    • ぶのが好き:14
    • ぬのが好き:0
  3. (Incomplete) Team "~て + other subsidiary verbs + のが好き" → >14

    • てあるのが好き :0
    • であるのが好き :0
    • ていくのが好き :6
    • でいくのが好き :0
    • てくるのが好き :1
    • てあげるのが好き:3
    • てくれるのが好き:1
    • てしまうのが好き:0
    • てもらうのが好き:3

Admittedly this methodology is rather sloppy. There are caveats like

  • there are quite a few possible "て + subsidiary verb + のが好き" patterns not excluded from "dictionary form + のが好き" results. As a result, the actual number for "dictionary form + のがすき" might be a bit, but not significantly, lower.
  • the の might possibly not be the same as the one asked in this question. For example, 言うの might be "the thing that someone said", instead "the action of saying".
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