I found a sentence from my study book.

It said:


Why is it


and not

がある ?

Is it replaceable?

1 Answer 1


To answer your question, I think that it would be good to review the V + ている conjugation.

A lot of the time we are taught that V + ている means "verb-ing." For many cases that is correct. However, there are some cases where "verb-ing" is not 100% accurate as far as translation goes. For example, 死{し}んでいる does not mean dying, but dead.

In my time in Japan, I spent a bit of time going door to door as part of my work. Quite often, the person answering the door would say:


In the morning, translating this as My husband is going to work would make sense, but it doesn't make as much sense at 4:00PM. This is because translating 行{い}っている as going isn't correct. Rather, you should translate it as has gone to __ or is at __. Long story short, you would translate it as:

My husband is at work.

For more information, please see this webpage. I really like how it describes the meaning of V + ている in terms of resultant states. We are dealing with a resultant state in this situation. To use their words:

If the verb indicates an instantaneous change of state or transfer, then the て- form + いる (iru) will express a resultant state.

Like 行{い}っている (has gone to/is at) or 死{し}んでいる (is dead)。

Become (なる) is another one of those cases. You cannot translate it as becoming, as that would not be correct, but rather translate it as it is established or it is the case that.


It has been established that keeping pets at this mansion is not allowed.

Why not ~がある? Well, in terms of overall meaning you could replace ~になっている with ~がある、and have it carry almost the same meaning (I wouldn't do it though). This is not just a question of style/formality, but also a question of meaning. It's not as formal to say ~がある, and it means something different.

Just to be clear, this does not mean ~がある = ~になっている。That is false, as the meanings are different. It just happens to be the case that you could rephrase the sentence with ~がある and carry a similar meaning. Here is an example to drive this point home:


In our home, we don't use chopsticks, we eat with our hands.

Setting aside the peculiarity of this sentence, if we were to replace ~になっている with ~がある、we would have a different sentence. Eating with your hands in that home is an established thing. When I say established, I mean that things are always that way. It's a tradition, not a one-time deal.

If we were to say:


In our home, there are times when we don't use chopsticks and eat with our hands.

There is no sense of establishment. This isn't a tradition, it's more of a fling.

So, bringing it all together, the reason they use ~になっている in your sentence is because the rule (規則{きそく}) is established. It's not just a thing that happens. There is a sense of permanence and there is an expectation that you will abide by that rule.

If you were to say ~がある、you would get the feeling that there's a rule that pets aren't allowed, but not everyone follows the rules. So while you would get almost the same meaning, they are in fact different.

  • It might be a lot to ask, but could you go back through and add some furigana? I can see this being an often referenced and or popular question and answer to visit. Might as well make it more accessible to those learning ;) (like me). Anyway, great answer, and thank you!
    – user22337
    Jul 24, 2017 at 14:08
  • What'd be the meaning if I used です in place of になっている? Oct 22, 2019 at 5:15
  • @PawełBatko, You'd end up with a grammatically incorrect sentence. わが家やでは、お箸はしを使つかわず、手てで食たべる...です。You already have a verb ending the sentence. Now if we ended at that last verb (食べる), you would get none of the nuance I described previously, and just a statement of fact.
    – ajsmart
    Oct 22, 2019 at 12:55
  • If that doesn't fully answer your question, I would suggest you ask it as a general question on the site, because I might have to get a little more involved in the explanation.
    – ajsmart
    Oct 22, 2019 at 12:55
  • 1
    @PawełBatko このマンションは動物を飼ってはいけない is a phrase that modifies the noun 規則. As such, you have noun + です, which isn't strictly speaking a complete sentence. It can be a response to a question like どんな規則ですか (what type of rule?), to which you respond it is a rule that says you can't keep pets. Does that make sense, or do I need to do more explaining?
    – ajsmart
    Oct 23, 2019 at 13:27

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