I already know that the ている expresses a state after an action ended, rather than a continuous aspect in some verbs, but in some contexts I wonder why the natives would opt for する instead of している.

“イライラしている” means: “someone got angry and is still angry” “someone has gotten angry” “someone is irritated”

But if someone just says: “イライラする” what are all the meanings this sentence can convey depending on context? Here’s how I went about it:

  • “Someone is getting angry” (hasn’t gotten angry yet, but might)
  • “Someone will get angry” (when something happens)
  • “Someone gets angry” (a habit)

Or for example in similar verbs:

Someone has gotten depressed

Someone is getting depressed (has not gotten depressed yet, but fears might)
Someone will get depressed
Someone gets depressed

How can I express all these English tenses in natural Japanese?

1 Answer 1


Yes, all of those three are possible meanings of イライラする.

  • イライラする!
    It's irritating! / It gets on my nerves!
  • 彼の手紙を読んだら間違いなくイライラする。
    I will definitely be angry if I read his letter.
  • 母は父の顔を見るといつもイライラする。
    My mother gets irritated whenever she sees the face of my father.
    (イライラしている is also fine; see: Habitual aspect)

"イライラする!" is used typically when the speaker is already upset, but if I understand correctly, English speakers don't usually say "I'm being irritated!" when "It's irritating!" is enough, either.

  • Thanks for the answer, but I still have some questions: 1. Would all of his apply to the other example I provided? 2. “I’m being irritated” sounds weird, therefore I rather wrote “getting”. This might correspond to なる, but なる cannot be used with イライラ. You translated イライラする as “It’s irritating”, but wouldn’t “イライラすることだ/ものだ” be better, since it would be clear it is used to describe something as an adjective? イライラさせる/ているWould mean “something makes/ is making me irritated, gets on my nerves right? @naruto
    – 初心者
    Jun 20, 2022 at 2:31
  • Oh and one more question, is my understanding of the concept of 瞬間動詞 correct? So basically, apart from the habitual aspect which I forgot about but remember reading about here on stack, the verbs イライラする and へこむ used with ている always describe a state rather than a continuous aspect, so the only way to actually distinguish this is by using the non past for anything other than the state/ result.
    – 初心者
    Jun 20, 2022 at 2:45
  • @初心者 1. Yes, the same principle applies to most other verbs. 2. イライラすることだ sounds stilted and it almost never happens in real speech. イライラさせる is uncommon in Japanese (see this). 3. I don't think イライラする is a 瞬間動詞 in the first place. I think this is a 継続動詞 like 寝る and 走る because we can safely say イライラし始める, 2時間ずっとイライラしている, for example.
    – naruto
    Jun 20, 2022 at 3:05
  • Alright, I thought about this and as for the 瞬間動詞, I think I don’t understand it then. Here’s how I perceive these verbs: 寝ている, 走っている mean someone is … right now. イライラし始める would mean: to start getting upset (has not happened yet), 二時間ずっとイライラしている would mean: someone got upset (short moment) and has been in that state for two hours. Basically I understand the ているin 寝ている and 走っている as a regular continuous tense, but in イライラしている or ワクワクしている for example, it’s more of a continuation of state after the action already took place.
    – 初心者
    Jun 20, 2022 at 6:05
  • If I just want to say that I’m irritated, is there any major difference between イライラするand イライラしている?
    – 初心者
    Jun 20, 2022 at 6:05

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