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What is the difference between である and がある?

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Most simply put, the difference between 何々【なになに】である and 何々【なになに】がある is the difference between "it is something", and "there is something".

  • 机【つくえ】である → "it is a desk"
    (as in, whatever "it" that we were talking about, that "it" is a desk)
  • 机【つくえ】がある → "there is a desk"
    (as in, a desk exists somewhere, in some context that was previously established)

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