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あなたは電話番号を知りますか (anata wa denwa bangou wo shirimasu ka)?

あなたは電話番号を知っていますか (anata wa denwa bangou wo shitte imasu ka)?

In my book "あなたは電話番号を知っていますか" (anata wa denwa bangou wo shitte imasu ka) is translated as "Do you know the phone number?" instead of "Are you knowing the phone number?" But I'm confuse because I knew that to say "You are..." in a present form you have to use the standard form of the verb (shiru, taberu, miru) instead of the te form.

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知る means something more akin to "get to know". So by saying 電話番号を知ります you're saying that you "are getting to know something ", you don't know it yet.

So if you're asking whether someone knows a number, then you have to use the form that reflects that current state of things. That's why you say 電話番号を知っています to mean you know something.

This works very similarly to the situation of 結婚する. To say you're married you say 結婚している. It doesnt mean you're getting married; it means you've completed the process of getting married and are still in that state.

  • Can you explain it to me like a five years old kid please? – Animewar Oficial Jul 23 '16 at 18:49
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    @AnimewarOficial I think you're going to have to be more specific about what you didn't understand because it seemed like a perfectly simple explanation to me. – Kurausukun Jul 23 '16 at 19:09
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    @Animewar Oficial Imagining a time line visually might help. If we take a highlighter and highlight the part of the line where a person knows a phone number, the start of the highlight is 知る and the middle of the highlight is 知っている. – WeirdlyCheezy Jul 24 '16 at 2:14
  • @AnimewarOficial See this question: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/3122/5010 Japanese 知る is a change-of-state verb like English "get-to-know". – naruto Jul 24 '16 at 7:48

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