The following sentence appears in this video at around 7 min:


The follwing sentence appears in this answer:

"メニューには売り切れとある" (menu says [it is] sold out.)

I want to know what do 「と」 and 「ある」 mean in these sentences?

In this Japanese dictionary, 「とある」 got a meaning:

according to; reads; reading; is written; says; states. ​Abbreviation, See also と書いてある

but, how does it abbreviate from と書いてある?

  • 1
    it may have been answered in (but I'm not sure): japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/72423/… and in japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/9847/…
    – Makoto
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 17:35
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    Jisho.org states that とある is an abbreviation of と書いてある.
    – user40476
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 21:48
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    You've not got the whole sentence there. She says, 教科書の中で。。。とありました。
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 1:18
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    @Makoto I'm sorry to say but in these answers "とある" is a single word, not と+ある. Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 2:04
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    @古手梨花 what makes you think "とある" is a single word? The particle here is the quotative と and ある here is the usual ある which in this context is a kind of shorthand for saying "[the textbook] says".
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


~とある can be reworded using ~と書いてある in most of the times, but it doesn't mean that it is the abbreviation of the latter. "The sign reads 'STOP'." is a kind of peculiar grammar too, so to speak, but not an abbreviation of "The sign can be read 'STOP'."

This と is quotative. The so-called "quotative" と isn't just for closing quotations; its real function is to convert an arbitrary language snippet into an adverbial clause in a sentence. Thus the phrase ~と modifies the verb ある.

"in the textbook, there was literally 'woodpeckers make holes in trees'"
= "the textbook had (a content) literally 'woodpeckers make holes in trees'"
= "the textbook (we saw) says 'woodpeckers make holes in trees'"

Incidentally, the past tense ありました does not mean that it no longer says in this context, but they no longer see the textbook, as you see in the translation above.

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