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For example, what would the difference between 膝{ひざ}がガクガクする or 膝{ひざ}がガクガクしている be?

I believe the correct definition in Daijirin is 恐怖{きょうふ}・疲労{ひろう}・緊張{きんちょう}などのために体{からだ}の一部{いちぶ}が小刻{こきざ}みに震{ふる}えるさま, but that doesn't help me see how the two differ.

or the difference between:  

自分{じぶん}で出{だ}しておいてナンだけど、すごいドキドキする 怖{こわ}いかも

自分で出しておいてナンだけど、すごいドキドキしている 怖{こわ}いかも

9

Generally, 〜してる indicates the state of that onomatopoeia, while 〜する is describing the stimulus that caused it.

Say you are watching an intense movie with a friend.

ドキドキしてる = (My/your/his/their/our) heart is pounding

ドキドキする = (This movie is) heart-pounding

Here is an example where the two can mean different things:

膝がガクガクしてるね = Your knees are shaking (but mine are not)

膝がガクガクするね = This is knee-shaking (for the both of us)

And the most critical distinction:

あの人、ドキドキしてる = That person is excited

あの人、ドキドキする = That person is exciting

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Edited : I honestly speaking did not know what "onomatopoeias" means. Sorry. However, given that the term refers to the same repetitive sounds, such as woof-woof ( bark-bark ) for a dog, does it make any difference...........?????

What would the difference between 膝がガクガクする or 膝がガクガクしている be?

So, as I mentioned below, the former denotes only the motion, meaning in English "My knees shakes? quivers? ( in English what term is proper? Would you kindly teach me. )"

and the latter denotes as I mentioned below, the "continuation of the motion" probably equivalent with in English "be + ing"

"My knees keep shaking, quivering...".

I believe the correct definition in Daijirin is 恐怖・疲労・緊張などのために体の一部が小刻みに震えるさま
regarding this, it depends upon the very situation caused by your action for what reason your knees shakes, or keep shaking....this is only what I can say.

or the difference between  

自分で出しておいてナンだけど すごいドキドキする 怖いかも 自分で出しておいてナンだけど すごいドキドキしている 怖いかも

regarding these, actually, I do not understand. Especially this

自分で出しておいてナンだけど, meaning, "Though I put? ( pull out? ) this out of ( from? ) *****". Only I can say is please be more specific......

Thank you.....

I am sorry after my repetitive thinking, I am not able to give you any alternative interpretation.


Simply put, it is the difference between "the motion ( or action ) itself" and "the continuation of the motion ( or action, )".

For example : My sister gets married this year 私の妹は今年結婚する。( only denoting the action itself )

and the latter example is My sister is already married: 私の妹は結婚しています ( denoting the "continuation" or rather here the "condition" ( continuation inferred so )).

If you are satisfied here, please forget the following supplementary. ( I would like to go into further discussion for anyone interested here )


Japanese is controlled particularly by auxiliaries or particles, and verbs.

I would like to divide each する and している into the above pieces.

する = verb. in English "do" ( and in your English question, the verb is used as a "conclusive form" ( verbs vary according to what comes after ))

している = し/て/いる。

し = varied form of する because as I mentioned above, verbs vary the form according to what comes after.

て = conjunctive particle : only denoting nothing but put here for something coming after this.

いる = auxiliary "verb" : in English equivalent with "be" denoting the continuation, condition, etc

Have a nice day.

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  • 1
    Hi Kentaro, the poster is asking specifically about onomatopoeias, not する/している in general. – jogloran Jan 21 '15 at 7:22
  • Can anyone help me regarding the interpretation of the last sentence, thanx.......... – Kentaro Jan 21 '15 at 13:43

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