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What is the difference between あそこに学校がある and あそこは学校です

I think that both phrases mean the same. Or I am wrong?

1 Answer 1

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The basic meaning is broadly the same. The difference rendered into English might be something like:

  • あそこに学校【がっこう】がある
    There is a school over there.

  • あそこは学校【がっこう】です
    That over there is a school.

Different nuance, same basic statement.


In case it's helpful to anyone, here's a fuller exploration of the differences between the two statements.

Let's look at these in a detailed breakdown of each sentence.

The first one uses the verb ある, which is used to express the idea that something "exists" somewhere, that "there is" something somewhere. 「XYZある」 is roughly equivalent to "there is XYZ (somewhere or by someone that we've talked about earlier)".

  • あそこに学校【がっこう】がある →
    [あそこ]{over there  }[に]{LOC  }[学校]{  school  }[が]{SUBJ  }[ある]{ there is} →
    over there || in / at location || school || (subject) || exists / there is →
    at over there a school there is →
    There is a school over there.

The second one uses です, which is used to express the idea that something "is" something else, that A = B. 「XYZです」 is roughly equivalent to "XYZ is (something else that we've talked about earlier)".

  • あそこは学校【がっこう】です →
    [あそこ]{over there  }[は]{TOPIC  }[学校]{  school  }[です]{it is} →
    over there || (topic) || school || it is →
    over there a school it is →
    That over there is a school.

So in terms of nuance, in the first sentence, we're talking about "over there", and about what kinds of things there are in that location. In the second sentence, we're talking about "over there", and about what that location itself is.

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