I'm not sure if I'm wording this properly, but I want to know the nuances of these "stative" type verb forms that act kind of like adjectives.

For example, you could describe an open window with any of the following:

  • 窓が開いている
  • 窓が開けてある
  • 窓が開けられた

Another one I often see is for "it is written":

  • ~と書いてある
  • ~と書かれた
  • 「窓が開いている」 describes the act of opening the window, not the open window itself. Commented May 14, 2012 at 2:43
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    @Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams: No. If anything, the other two focus on the act of opening the window, but 窓が開いている does not. Commented May 14, 2012 at 3:58
  • Hrm. Then all my books are wrong, since they say that the other two describe the state of the window being open (or having been opened, as the case may be). Commented May 14, 2012 at 3:59
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    @Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams: 開いている describes the state without suggesting of the action of opening, 開けてある describes the state with some focus on the action of opening, and 開けられた describes the action of opening without describing the current state. So if your books say that 開けられた describes the state, they are indeed incorrect. Commented May 14, 2012 at 4:18
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    @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams Either your books are wrong, or you are reading them wrong. The ている form of change-of-state verbs describe the state of the action having completed. This has been discussed to length in other threads, see e.g. japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/3122/…
    – dainichi
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 0:26

1 Answer 1


I think (I'm not a native speaker) that

  • 窓が開いている is a neutral statement of the fact; in English "the window is open".

  • 窓が開けてある is saying that someone opened the window in preparation for something. Compare for example to ビールが冷蔵庫に入れてあります, meaning, in preparation for tonight you have put cans of beer into the fridge to get them cooled.

  • 窓が開けられた is the past passive tense of 開ける and is again neutral; in English "the window has been opened".

As for the other two examples you gave:

  • ...と書いてあります means "it is written that...", so context matters: unlike above, ~てある can also occur in a neutral sense, i.e. without doing something in preparation.

  • と書かれた is again the past passive tense of "to write", again in a neutral sense.

Hope this helps and hope native speakers will correct me if I said anything wrong.

  • 1
    This answer is mostly fine, but 開けられた (read あけられた) is the past passive form of 開ける, not 開く (whether you read 開く as あく or ひらく). Commented May 14, 2012 at 18:25
  • @TsuyoshiIto Ah, of course, thank you! Commented May 14, 2012 at 19:01
  • In addition, 窓が開いている can mean "the window is opening" (if it's doing so sufficiently slowly to warrant a progressive, or sufficiently often to warrant an iterative).
    – Amadan
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 22:24
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    Hmm 窓があいている=the window is opening?? Maybe we'd say more like 窓が開いてきている or something?
    – user1016
    Commented May 19, 2012 at 16:36
  • @Amadan: I'm fairly certain the speed or frequency of the window opening doesn't impact the meaning of 窓が開いている. But I would be interested if you could provide some kind of reference or resource that might demonstrate the usage you are talking about.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 6:15

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