Quick basic grammar question.

With respect to expressing ownership of an item using ある. Am I correctly understanding the general meaning and particle use in the following sentences?

  1. 私の辞書がありません → I do not have MY dictionary

  2. 私は辞書がありません → I do not have a dictionary

I think the second example makes sense grammatically speaking, however I'm unsure if the first example is correct. Can I use の in similar situations like this to express if a particular item belongs to me? Can I use it like this with いる as well?

For example:

  1. 私の子供がいます → The child is mine

  2. 私は子供がいます → I have a child



  • Hello! Welcome to JLSE! I replaced the rōmaji in your question with Japanese writing. If you object to these changes, please feel free to click "edit" and roll them back. Thanks! – snailplane Dec 25 '13 at 12:34

私の辞書がありません does NOT mean "I do not have my dictionary." This is a very common mistake among J-learners. To us native speakers, it can ONLY mean "My dictionary is missing." as in "I brought my dictionary here but I can't find it now. Where did it go?"

Yes, 私は辞書がありません means "I do not have a dictionary."

私の子供がいます does not mean "The child is mine." It is not such a natural-sounding sentence but if anyone said it, it would mean "There is my kid."

Yes, 私は子供がいます means "I have a child."

  • In what context would you use the Japanese word(s) for missing or unaccounted for? 欠落や行方不明? – tokyovariable Dec 26 '13 at 1:06
  • 1
    That depends on the context but generally you can just say ~がない or ~が見つからない. 欠落 is way too formal and has more nuance than that, and 行方不明 is used with missing persons. – ssb Dec 26 '13 at 2:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.