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So I just encountered the grammar "te aru" and according to Japanesetest4you it means that something has been done. They provide the following sentence as an example:

君の靴下も全部洗濯してある
Kimi no kutsushita mo zenbu sentaku shite aru.
'All your socks have also been washed.'

Would it be wrong of me to just say:

君の靴下も全部洗濯した
Kimi no kutsushita mo zenbu sentaku shita.

Would there be a big difference in meaning?

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The difference is like the difference between "they have been washed" and "(someone) washed them".

君{きみ}の靴下{くつした}も全部{ぜんぶ}洗濯{せんたく}してある

  • All of your socks have also been washed

  • Your socks have all been washed as well

君の靴下も全部洗濯した

  • (I have) washed all of your socks as well

  • (She has) washed all of your socks as well

  • (He has) washed all of your socks as well

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