I would like to know if there is a difference in nuance between these four sentences. I am trying to say oranges are high in vitamin C. These are based off a sentence I found in Jisho.

1.) オレンジはたくさんのビタミンCを含む。
2.) オレンジはたくさんのビタミンCを含んでいる。
3.) オレンジにはビタミンCがたくさん含まれている。
4.) オレンジにはビタミンCがたくさん含まれる。

Thank you!


First, there is a very subtle difference in nuance between [含]{ふく}んでいる and 含まれている. It is about the amount of focus that the author is placing between オレンジ and ビタミンC in your sentences.

2.) オレンジたくさんのビタミンCを含んでいる。 "Oranges contain much Vitamin C in them."

This sentence would generally place more focus on "oranges" than on "Vitamin C" unless the larger context proves otherwise. In other words, the sentence is more about oranges than about Vitamin C. "Oranges" is in fact the subject of the sentence.

3.) オレンジにはビタミンCたくさん含まれている。 "Much Vitamin C is contained in oranges."

This sentence would generally be more about Vitamin C than about oranges -- at least more so than sentence #2. "Vitamin C" is the subject of the sentence.

Now on to 含む and 含まれる. Needless to say, the two sentences:

1.) オレンジはたくさんのビタミンCを含む。

4.) オレンジにはビタミンCがたくさん含まれる。

are grammatical. Would native Japanese-speakers say those, then? We might but not nearly as often as we would say them using 含んでいる and 含まれている.

With stative verbs (static verbs?) such as 含む, it is much more natural to use them in the ~~ている/でいる/れている forms. Sentences #1 and #4 would sound more like memo-writing for that reason. In speaking, it would be near impossible as it sounds pretty curt.

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  • Thank you very much. This was a thorough answer. It was exactly what I was looking for. – Marnell Sample Oct 17 '14 at 1:21

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