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

彼らは無事に、昨日ある島に上陸した。

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  • How do you understand ある?
    – macraf
    Nov 17, 2016 at 22:33
  • I don't get why ある is here.
    – Dav7n
    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
    Nov 17, 2016 at 22:36
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    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
    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
    Nov 18, 2016 at 14:32

3 Answers 3

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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

私はそう思うが,ある者はそう思わない。
I think so, but some people don't.

ある程度目的を達した。
They achieved their purpose 「to some degree [to a certain extent].

ある意味ではそれは正しい。
That is correct in a (certain) sense.

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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)

[連体]《動詞「あり」の連体形から》はっきり名を挙げずに物事をさす語。また、漠然と物事をさしていう語。「或る所」「或る日」「或る人」

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  • 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". Jul 29, 2023 at 3:06
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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:

彼らは無事に、昨日或{あ}る島に上陸した

  • They landed safely on an island yesterday - not any specific island, just some island in general
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  • 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
    Mar 16, 2017 at 17:11

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