I don't understand why ある is in this sentence:


  • How do you understand ある?
    – macraf
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 22:33
  • I don't get why ある is here.
    – Dav7n
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 22:35
  • I was not asking you to repeat what you wrote in question. I asked how do you understand ある. Sorry, if my question wasn't clear enough.
    – macraf
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 22:36
  • 4
    ある means "certain" and 島 means "an island". Together they mean "a certain island". Yes, I do not understand your question and asked for a clarification.
    – macraf
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 22:44
  • 1
    ↓ 100%辞書のコピペで事足りるならフォーラムで聞く必要ないやん!
    – chocolate
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


ある島: a certain island, some island

Excerpt from 小学館プログレッシブ和英中辞典:

ある【或る】 a certain; one; some

ある所に: at [in] a certain place
ある教授がそう言った: A certain professor said so.
ある日: one day
ある時: once
ある場合には: in some cases

I think so, but some people don't.

They achieved their purpose 「to some degree [to a certain extent].

That is correct in a (certain) sense.


ある in this sentence is not a verb meaning "to exist, to be", but a prenominal adjective to 島{しま} and means "certain, some"

ある (或る)


  • If we did interpret it as a verb, following the normal rules for modifying nouns with predicate clauses, grammatically we would get "a day which exists" - which is not that far, semantically from "a certain day". Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 3:06

There are 3 ways to express different meanings of ある with Kanji:

在る - compare with 在宅{ざいたく}

  • 「家に在る」
  • "(it) is in the house"

有る - compare with 有権者{ゆうけんしゃ}

  • 「権利の有る者」
  • "(a) person with (the) right" - like the right to vote

或る - compare with 某日{ぼうじつ}

  • 11月の或る日{ひ} - could also be expressed as,「11月某日」
  • "a day in November" - not any day specifically, just a day in general

So the example in the OP could be written this way:


  • They landed safely on an island yesterday - not any specific island, just some island in general
  • 2
    I think this should be the accepted answer because it explains the usage requested in the question, while contrasting with other "versions" of ある.
    – istrasci
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 17:11

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