I heard this in a (friendly) Youtube chat:

すごく発展はしてるんですけど、まだ発展 途中ではあるので、...

I thought である was almost exclusively used in writing, so I was very confused by its appearance in a conversation.

Is there some grammatical reason why this construct is used here? Or do some people use である in regular converstaions - if so, what nuance does it carry?

Here's the full sentence for context:

すごく発展はしてるんですけど、まだ発展 途中ではあるので、生活面で困るときとか、何かしたいときに、どうすればいいか わからないことがあったときに、誰かに聞いたら「あ、じゃ一緒にやろうよ」とか、もう すぐ助けてくれる 印象です。


1 Answer 1


である is chosen when it's used in combination with another particle that adds a certain nuance, such as は (contrast marker), も ("also") and すら ("even"). Simply, the ordinary copula (だ/です) is less flexible and there is no way to attach these particles.

  • 彼は社長でありますが、…
    He is a president (at least), but ...
  • 彼は社長であります。
    He is (not only X but) also a president.
    彼も社長である means something different, "(Not only X but also) he is a president".
  • 彼は社長ですらある。
    He is (not just X but) even a president.

彼は社長もです, 彼は社長はです, 彼は社長すらだ and the like are ungrammatical.

である used like this does not sound literary or pompous, and it can appear in a casual conversation. The same sentence suddenly starts to sound highly pompous if は is removed (発展途中であるので).

Xで(は)ありません is another super common example of this. Xではないです still sounds unsophisticated, so we use the negative form of である in ordinary polite speech.

See also: Is there any usage of である outside the literary works?

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