I hope I already know the difference...


I have not killed him.

彼が殺してない(not the colloquial form of いない)

He has not been killed.

I heard that transitive verbs take ある while intransitive verbs take いる.

The classic example :

ドアが開いている (The door is open) ドアを開けてある (I have open the door)

However it does not always hold true as 知っている is used. I have never seen intransitive verb + ある

Furthermore ドアが開けてある is also possible using が instead to imply the readiness of the state instead of the intention.

ある implies the resultant state of an intentional action. いる implies progressive state but when the verb only happen for a moment, it implies the ongoing resultant state.

The usage of が an を are also confusing.

Does that mean...

彼を殺している and 彼を殺してある

Means "I have killed him"?


Means "He has killed (someone)"?


Means "He has been killed"?

I think intransitive verb can only be paired with いる to show resultant state. 死んでいる : have died.

  • Intransitive verbs can be paired with いる to show resultant state too. e.g. そこには行ってある: I have once been there.
    – user4092
    Dec 11, 2016 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


~てある always follows transitive verbs, and implies someone has (intentionally) done something. ~ている can follow both intransitive and transitive verbs.

  • 木が倒れている。: "A tree is lying." (by a wind, etc)
  • 木が倒れてある。: (ungrammatical; 倒れる is intransitive)
  • 木が倒れてない = 木が倒れていない: "A tree is not lying."
  • 木を倒してある。: I have laid a tree (in advance, for a purpose).
  • 木を倒している。: either "I am (currently) cutting a tree" or "I have (already) laid a tree"
  • 木を倒していない。: either "I am (currently) not cutting a tree" or "I have not laid a tree yet."

Let's take a look at your example sentences.


"I have not killed him," yes. (Of course the implied subject can be someone other than 'I', but for the sake of brevity let's assume the subject is 'I' when it's omitted)


This is almost ungrammatical as a sentence (why が instead of は?). 彼は殺してない means "I haven't killed him (although I killed someone else)" or "He didn't kill (someone, and the killer is someone else)" depending on the context. You said "not the colloquial form of いない", but this must always be short for いない.

If you want to say "He has not been killed" using いる, it will be 彼は殺されていない using the passive form.


Either "I am killing him (just now)." or "I have already killed him." For the latter, 彼を殺してある is more natural.


"I have already killed him (in advance, for you/her/etc)."


"He is killing someone." or "He has already killed someone."


"He has already killed someone (in advance, for you/her/etc)."

  • I though that が can be used to imply the readiness of the object. セーターが出してある. ホテルの予約がしてある. 電気が消してある. Especially if you don't want to focus on the subject, but on the object instead. Is this a misconception or does not apply to animate objects?
    – Dekiru
    Dec 11, 2016 at 11:26
  • @Dekiru Oh, good point. 彼が殺してある doesn't work in the same way as 本が置いてある. Probably because 彼 is a living thing (we don't say 彼がある in the first place).
    – naruto
    Dec 11, 2016 at 11:47
  • It'd be more helpful to point out that 彼が殺してある is a part of (その人は)彼が殺してある.
    – user4092
    Dec 11, 2016 at 12:33

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