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2年【にねん】に1度【ど】、目視【もくし】による検査【けんさ】を行【おこな】っており、強度【きょうど】に問題【もんだい】はないという

(The bridge) is visually inspected every two years, and is said to have no strength problems.

https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/hobby/travel/20220124-OYT8T50084/

If found this dictionary entry:

折 【おり】 (esp. 折) opportunity; chance; occasion; time

which would seem to be an unnecessary repetition of the information at the beginning of the sentence. It also seems to be too far away from that time information to serve the function of a counter. What is おり doing in this sentence?

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2 Answers 2

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(It looks as though this is not the complete sentence, but that does not affect the problem.)

おる is simply the humble form of いる; the people responsible for the bridge might say 「…検査を行っております。」 This is the continuative form (2nd base) ending in …おり, to join to the next bit of the sentence. (Note that the people responsible for the bridge might also say 「…検査を行っています。」, using いる instead of おる but then the continuative form does not exist.)

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  • Here is the complete sentence from that article: 松浦鉄道によると、2年に1度、目視による検査を行っており、強度に問題はないという。
    – Ned Reif
    May 16 at 17:08
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This おり is basically the same as いて (the te-form of いる) except that it sounds more formal and/or bookish.

You probably know the basic idea of how 中止法 works. It refers to the use of masu-stem to join clauses. However, 中止法 does not work very well with short ichidan verbs such as 着る, 見る, 得る and いる. The masu-stem of those verbs consists of only one kana.

  • 学校に行き、授業を受け、家に帰った。: OK
  • ぐっすり、服を、学校に行った。: Questionable/uncommon

In particular, い is unacceptable as 中止法 even though the masu-stem of いる is い. And that's where おり comes into play. Instead of い, you can use おり and preserve the formal/bookish mood of 中止法:

  • ❌ 目視による検査を行って、強度に問題はないという。: Wrong
  • ✅ 目視による検査を行っていて、強度に問題はないという。: Correct but less formal
  • ✅ 目視による検査を行っており、強度に問題はないという。: OK (formal)

Although おる is basically a humble version of いる, おり used in this way does not carry any humble sense. It's just a replacement of い you must use in formal documents. You have to be able to use this type of おり properly even when you don't need to pay respect to anyone (for example, when describing a chemical reaction).

On the other hand, おる at the end of a sentence sounds very different:

  • 目視による検査を行っております。: Humble expression (keigo)
  • 目視による検査を行っておる。: Sounds like a pompous aristocracy in fiction

Note that (-て)いる/おる after 行う is necessary because 検査を行う is an habitual action that explains why the bridge is safe.

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  • い is unacceptable as 中止法 - Other う-verbs like 買う, 占う, 争う, etc. (also verbs like 用いる) are exceptions to this rule?
    – Jimmy Yang
    May 20 at 6:25
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    @JimmyYang These are godan verbs that can be safely used in 中止法 (買い, 占い, 争い, ...). As explained in the answer, verbs that don't go well with 中止法 are short ichidan verbs. Note that いる is ichidan but おる is godan.
    – naruto
    May 20 at 6:38

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