What is the function of in とある?

It doesn't seem to be the particle --it doesn't seem to attach to whatever comes before it, which particles generally do. It also doesn't seem to fit any of the uses of the particle described my in books. So, I guess it must be something other than a particle.

So far, I've found this answer on 知恵袋. It suggests that is this 副詞 meaning 「そのように」 , the same in とにかく. And, as @Chocolate points out in a comment, 学研全訳古語辞典 agrees that the in とある is a 副詞.

However, in another comment, Chocolate points out that 広辞苑 says is a particle. I'm not sure how to reconcile this with the other information I've found so far. (I don't have 広辞苑 myself, so I can't verify the quote.) As I said before, it doesn't seem to behave like a particle to me, because it doesn't attach to what comes before it. Is 広辞苑 wrong?

What is this exactly?

  • In short, it's the adverb particle. Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 21:28
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    Example sentence?
    – istrasci
    Commented Dec 27, 2012 at 18:49

2 Answers 2


In "とある宝飾店" (a jewelry store), とある is one word, and not と + ある. As a single word it means "a" or "some". It signifies that the speaker doesn't want to specify which jewelry stor eit is.

Note that there is also a sentence where とある is two words と (particle) + ある (verb: exist), such as "メニューには売り切れとある" (menu says [it is] sold out.)

  • 4
    Maybe とある is best remembered as a word, but even if とある is a word, it is possible that it came from と + ある and the kanji suggests it did.
    – Earthliŋ
    Commented Jan 9, 2013 at 9:01
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    I agree that the word とある in the question is analyzed as one word, but I think that the asker already knew this, given the link to the dictionary entry in the question. I am afraid that the question is about the origin of と in the word とある, not about how the word とある is analyzed in the modern Japanese grammar. Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 21:02

I remember hearing that the origin is due to the use of っていう or と used as in quoting/explaining, so when you were talking about a place or a thing but had many possibilities, or were talking about "I heard that this store.." or "this subject..." or "people say...", it was a circumlocution which over time ended up contracting and becoming the form we know as the current とある as because while とある is best thought of as one word, I've always heard it as "a certain..." or "some" (not in the plural, but like... one out of many possibilities of jewelry stores, or some other noun, like in the manga / light novel/anime series 「とある魔術の禁書目録」). But that's what my professor told me, and it may have just been a way to remember this use of とある as I can't find sources confirming this origin either. And of course there are other ways to denote "people say about..." etc in Japanese too.