The book says use ~ている for a) an action in progress and b) a past event that is connected with the present, and it has examples like スーさんは本を読んでいます, and all the examples are using ています. But when I look it up in the dictionary, it says その本なら読んでいるよ. So when do I use ~ている and when do I use ~ています?

  • Do you know the difference?
    – ssb
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 0:18
  • @ssb: no i don't....
    – Gavin Z.
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 0:24
  • Where are you seeing these examples and explanations? The difference between plain form and polite form is one of those things you learn on your first day studying Japanese.
    – ssb
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 0:49
  • @ssb: sigh... could you recommend me any websites/textbooks? I'm self learning
    – Gavin Z.
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 0:55
  • I see Tae Kim's grammar guide recommended for basic/free resources: guidetojapanese.org/learn/complete/verbs
    – ssb
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 1:09

1 Answer 1


~ています is simply more polite than ~いる. You would use ~ています with strangers, people you just met, in a business situation, or just to be more polite. ~ている would be used in writing, or in casual situations.

  • so basically they have the same meaning?
    – Gavin Z.
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 0:24
  • Yes basically, but are used in different situations as per above. A lot of times Japanese textbooks will use the polite form only (います) because it is always 'safe', but maybe with men and more casual situations you will see the other form (いる)
    – Mac
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 14:22

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