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HomeCulture〜ている (Teiru) vs 〜てある (Tearu) vs 〜ておく(Teoku)

〜ている (Teiru) vs 〜てある (Tearu) vs 〜ておく(Teoku)

Studying to distinguish the delicate nuances between 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく is perhaps one of many largest complications for Japanese learners. Not solely do they give the impression of being related, however they’ll all serve an analogous objective, too: these grammar patterns describe a scenario created by some intentional motion executed prior to now. Regardless of their similarities, every sample emphasizes or implies one thing totally different, similar to an motion being executed in preparation of one thing, or remaining within the state the motion created.

As an example you normally depart the window open at evening to let in some cool air. To inform somebody about this behavior, you should use both 〜ている, 〜てある, or 〜ておく and say:

  • いつも夜は窓を開け [ている・てある・ておく] 。
  • I normally hold the window open at evening.

See how all of them describe the state of the open window, which was created by the motion of you opening the window? In that means, the three expressions can work very equally.

However what precisely is the distinction between these expressions, and the way would you select which one to make use of? The additional nuance that is implied by every is mirrored within the translations beneath, so examine them out to see what every sentence sounds prefer to a local speaker.

  • いつも夜は窓を開けている。
  • I normally hold the window open at evening.
  • いつも夜は窓を開けてある。
  • I normally hold the window open at evening (so it will not get too scorching).
  • いつも夜は窓を開けておく。
  • I normally hold the window open at evening (in order that I will not have to fret about getting too scorching and waking up in the course of the evening).

So you may see there are some delicate variations within the nuance right here. However don’t fret if the excellence continues to be a bit hazy. The excellent news is that 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく aren’t at all times interchangeable. (At the least, we hope that is excellent news.) Just like the earlier instance sentences, every sample has its personal set of implications, making it higher suited to sure conditions than the others. This text will allow you to be taught extra about these primary distinctions, so you’ll perceive the delicate variations in nuance within the makes use of that overlap each other.

Stipulations: This text assumes you already know hiragana and katakana. If it’s worthwhile to brush up, take a look at our Final Hiragana Information and Final Katakana Information. Though this text begins with a primary rationalization of every grammatical sample, you might also need to try our grammar pages on 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく for a extra detailed background rationalization on every expression, as this text focuses extra on deeper nuances. Moreover, data about transitive and intransitive verbs is a plus, since we’ll even be discussing transitivity in an effort to clarify the variations between 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく.

The Primary Ideas of 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく

Let’s start by evaluating the fundamental ideas of 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく. We’ll get to some examples afterward, however listed here are the elemental ideas behind every sample:

〜ている: When linked to a verb, this expresses an ongoing motion or a steady state initiated by an motion prior to now.

〜てある: When linked to a verb, this describes the present state of one thing whereas typically hinting that the scenario was beforehand devised deliberately.

〜ておく: When hooked up to a verb, this suggests the motion is taken to finish a activity in preparation for one thing, in an effort to “put” (the verb くmeans “to place”) it out of your thoughts. Relying on the tense, it could actually check with an motion you are going to take or have already taken. It will possibly additionally denote the state of issues after finishing a activity.

The important thing variations between the three are the nuance, the extent of intention, and whether or not the main target is on the motion itself, or a scenario that’s the results of that motion. We’ll be discussing all these key variations all through the article, so don’t fret in case you are not getting it simply but.

Subsequent, let’s take a better take a look at how every sample works whereas making use of the ideas famous above.


〜ている is the plainest and most impartial of the three patterns. It has two features: it could actually describe a steady motion, or a state which is the results of a earlier motion. A technique to consider it’s as expressing a type of “activation mode.” What 〜ている does is categorical an ongoing scenario that is “activated” by one thing that occurred or that has began taking place. Let’s check out some examples of ~ている to see the way it works.

Describing Issues Which might be Presently Occurring

First, let’s shortly go over learn how to use 〜ている to speak about one thing that is presently taking place. For instance, say you are working within the kitchen and your child is available in to ask what you are doing. On this situation, you may say:

  • 今、お弁当を作っている。
  • I am making bento proper now.

This expression works equally to the current steady ( -ing ) in English, which exhibits that an motion is going on similtaneously it is being spoken about.

Right here, 〜ている is used to point that you’re within the strategy of “making a bento.” The implication is that it is nonetheless underway, however you have already began the method. You began cooking, and so the act of cooking has been activated.

Additionally bear in mind that particle を is usually omitted in dialog, however we’ll hold it on this article in order that the sentence construction is less complicated to know.

That is the commonest perform of 〜ている, however when used like this it could actually’t get replaced with 〜てある or 〜ておく.

Describing the Ensuing State Activated by a Previous Motion

Along with describing one thing that is presently taking place, 〜ている may also be used to explain a scenario or situation that’s the product of a previous motion or occasion. On this use, 〜ている typically features like an adjective as a result of it is used to explain the way in which one thing is.

As an example your child finds a bento field that is been left on the kitchen counter with the lid open. They inform you:

  • お弁当のフタが開いているよ。
  • The bento lid is open.
a bento with an open lid

Discover that 〜ている is used in another way from the earlier instance. く is an intransitive verb meaning “to open,” however on this sentence the 〜ている type it means “to be open,” fairly than “opening.”

〜ている typically features like an adjective as a result of it is used to explain the way in which one thing is.

It is because the verb く normally signifies an instantaneous change. As soon as the lid has begun to be opened, the “opened state” of the lid is “activated.” With verbs that change the state of one thing instantaneously like く, utilizing the 〜ている type permits you to describe the state of one thing that resulted from the change as a substitute of an ongoing motion.

Why? As a result of with an intransitive verb like く, there isn’t any implication past the bento lid being open. It solely describes the bento lid being open, whereas not specializing in who carried out the motion. Keep in mind, 〜てある and 〜ておく at all times suggest that there’s intention or objective behind the motion being described. So with out this implication, you may’t swap 〜てある or 〜ておく for 〜ている on this instance.

Describing the Ensuing State Activated by an “Intentional” Motion

Within the earlier part we coated that when used with an intransitive verb, 〜ている is not essentially interchangeable with 〜てある/〜ておく. It is because with intransitive verbs there isn’t any indication of the motion being described as intentional. However how a couple of transitive verb? Let’s check out one other instance, persevering with the bento situation.

Suppose you are leaving the bento lid open on objective. However since your child is commenting on it being open, you need to inform them that it was deliberately left open in order that they do not shut it. So that you say:

  • フタ、開けてるんだよ!
  • I am leaving the lid open!

Right here, discover the verb is ける, which suggests “to open one thing” — the transitive model of く that you just noticed earlier. With 〜ている, this sentence might imply you are “opening the lid” if that is what you might be presently doing — i.e. your hand is on the lid and about to take away it — nevertheless it’s clearly not the scenario right here. Slightly, it is a response to the query concerning the lid that is already been opened, so it describes the bento field being left open, which resulted out of your previous intentional motion of opening the bento and leaving it that means.

You might need additionally seen wanting intently on the instance that the expression used is てる as a substitute of 〜ている. It isn’t a typo — each kinds are grammatically appropriate. 〜ている is normally shortened in informal conversations.

Out of the three makes use of of 〜ている, that is the one one which can be utilized interchangeably with 〜てある or 〜ておく (or fairly 〜ておいた, the previous tense). Which means you may additionally use 〜てある or 〜ておく to clarify that you just deliberately opened the lid and left it that means, like this:

フタ、開け [てある・ておいた] んだよ!

Why? The brief reply is that this use of 〜ている implies an “intention” and you’ll inform that by the context. We’ll get right into a deeper comparability of ~ている, ~てある, and ~ておく in a bit, so for now, simply understand that this very particular use of ~ている is the one one that may be interchangeable with the opposite two.


〜てある signifies that the scenario was prompted deliberately, typically for a specific objective.

Now on to 〜てある. To start with, 〜てある describes the present state of one thing with the implication that somebody did one thing to it earlier and left it that means. That “somebody” can both be your self or another person, relying on the particle that precedes it.

It is also essential to notice that 〜てある is at all times used with a transitive verb, as a result of a transitive verb is a sort of verb that signifies an intentional motion.

〜を〜てある for a Scenario Brought on by Your self

As I briefly talked about, 〜てある can be utilized when describing a scenario that resulted from both your personal or another person’s motion. And there is a simple method to differentiate between the 2: every makes use of a special particle.

Earlier than we actually get into the mechanics of issues, let’s circle again to utilizing 〜てある to explain a scenario that is the results of your personal motion. Keep in mind the bento instance from earlier? We talked about that you should use 〜てある to clarify that you just opened the bento field and are leaving it open, like this:

  • お弁当のフタを開けてある。
  • I am leaving the lid of the bento field open.

Though を can typically be omitted in spoken Japanese, this 〜を〜てある sample is the construction used when speaking a couple of scenario attributable to your self.

On this instance, を marks the lid as the article of the sentence. Which means the probably topic, though not clearly acknowledged, is the speaker, or 私 that means “I,” which will be understood from the context.

Let’s stick with it the bento-making situation for an additional instance. Making an attempt to consider one thing that can pair properly with the bento for dessert, you keep in mind that you acquire some yogurt to have readily available for an event like this. On this case, you should use 〜てある and say to your self:

  • ヨーグルトを買ってある。
  • There’s some yogurt (as a result of I purchased some).
yogurt in the fridge

Keep in mind that you would be able to additionally use 〜ている or 〜ておく to specific one thing related. We’ll speak about this in additional element afterward.

〜が〜てある For a Scenario Brought on by Somebody Else

One distinctive facet of 〜てある is how it may be used to explain a scenario that is attributable to another person.

Take for instance a scenario that is barely totally different from the earlier one — you come throughout some yogurt within the fridge when in search of a dessert for the bento. However on this case, you might be not the one who purchased it. You may say one thing like:

  • ヨーグルトが買ってある!
  • There’s some yogurt (that somebody will need to have purchased)!

What 〜てある is doing right here is describing that the yogurt is within the fridge, whereas additionally implying that somebody (not you) purchased it earlier. Whereas the sentences are practically an identical, the distinction is in the usage of particles.

This may really feel difficult, however here is a tip. Take into consideration ある on the finish because the verb used for non-living issues’ existence. The verb ある pairs up with が and signifies “there’s…” proper? So ヨーグルトがある means “there’s some yogurt,” and that is simply describing what’s there objectively. ヨーグルトが買ってある is just like this, nevertheless it simply provides the implication that the motion (“yogurt was purchased,” on this case) was carried out by somebody moreover you.

Identical to 〜がある, you might be describing the scenario type of objectively as a result of you weren’t concerned within the motion — another person was. And identical to ある typically expresses the sense of realization when it is paired with the topic marker が, 〜てある carries the nuance that you just got here to a realization, too. So ヨーグルトが買ってある hints that it was a shock to you (and it was a pleasant one).

And identical to ある typically expresses the sense of realization when it is paired with the topic marker が, 〜てある carries the nuance that you just got here to a realization, too.

To summarize, 〜てある can take the particle が to mark one thing that is seemingly an object (“yogurt,” on this case) despite the fact that it’s used with a transitive verb. And when it does that, it implies that somebody apart from you carried out the motion that resulted within the state it describes. That is one thing distinctive to 〜てある, and what makes it totally different from 〜ている and 〜ておく. In different phrases, ヨーグルト買っている or ヨーグルト買っておく usually are not legitimate sentences — truly, these sound like yogurt is the topic who’s shopping for (one thing). It would be tremendous bizarre except the individual’s identify was Yogurt (which would definitely be a twist).


〜ておく can serve two features relying on the tense. Within the current tense, it seems that you might be finishing a activity for future comfort as a way to “put” it out of your thoughts. However, prior to now tense, 〜ておいた denotes the state of a accomplished activity.

ておく For Future Actions To Full Duties

Particularly used within the current tense, 〜ておく is somewhat totally different from the opposite two patterns mentioned thus far. Whereas 〜ている and 〜てある can be utilized to explain the present state of issues, 〜ておく signifies a future motion. Particularly, the longer term completion of a activity so you may “put” it out of your thoughts.

a to-do list

For instance, in case you’re presently within the course of of constructing a bento and resolve to go away the lid off to let some steam out, you should use 〜ておく and say:

  • お弁当のフタを開けておく。
  • I will depart the lid of the bento field open (to let the steam out so I will not have to fret about it getting musty and spoiling).

It is a slight distinction that is essential to notice right here between utilizing 〜ておく within the current tense and the earlier examples with 〜ていく and 〜てある. The place they have been used to explain a scenario the place a bento field is left open deliberately, right here 〜ておく is indicating your (very close to) future plan of leaving the lid open.

You are utilizing 〜ておく since you need to categorical that you just’re doing this to your future comfort.

On this case, you need to let the steam out to stop it from getting musty contained in the bento field.

You is perhaps questioning “Why does 〜ておく point out a future motion, not the present state of one thing like 〜ている and 〜てある?” Effectively, it’d assist in case you consider it like this. 〜ておく comes from the verb く that means “to place.” Identical to every other motion verb, when used within the current tense, it could actually point out a future motion, along with a common act or a behavior.

Compared, take into consideration 〜ている and 〜てある, and their roots — the verbs いる and ある. These verbs are a bit particular, differing barely from common motion verbs in that they point out the existence of issues, or describe the way in which issues are fairly than one thing that wants “doing.” Hopefully, that helps you higher perceive how 〜ておく works within the current tense.

Now, let’s check out one other instance. Say you are on the grocery retailer to purchase yogurt to your bento. You need to use 〜ておく and say:

  • ヨーグルトを買っておく。
  • I will purchase some yogurt (so as to add to my bento).

Right here, 〜ておく carries the nuance that you’ll do one thing in an effort to “get it executed,” or out of the way in which. And once more, be aware that it is the future motion or plan that you’re utilizing 〜ておく to explain.

ておいた For Accomplished Duties

Up to now, we have mentioned the variations within the nuance of 〜ておく within the current tense to speak a couple of future motion. Now let’s check out the way it’s used prior to now tense (〜ておいた) to speak a couple of present scenario that’s the direct results of an motion carried out prior to now, i.e. one thing you took care of prior to now that resulted within the current state of issues.

Let’s deliver again the earlier instance of leaving the bento field lid open. To say you left it open, it’s worthwhile to conjugate 〜ておく to the previous tense and say :

  • お弁当のフタを開けておいた。
  • I left the lid of the bento field open (to let the steam out so I will not have to fret about it getting musty and spoiling).

On this case, the main target is extra in your previous motion (opening the lid), however it could actually additionally point out the present state ensuing from the motion (the lid is left open), relying on the context.

Now, keep in mind that yogurt from earlier than? If you wish to point out that there is some yogurt for the bento since you purchased it earlier for that objective, you should use 〜ておいた and say:

  • ヨーグルトを買っておいた。
  • I’ve purchased some yogurt (for bento making).

Though these conditions will be described in an analogous method utilizing 〜ている or 〜てある, let’s not overlook the particular nuance of 〜ておいた — it at all times implies that you just carried out an motion with the intention of inflicting the present scenario since you wished to get one thing out of the way in which. On this case, perhaps you felt you wanted to have a backup bento filler and to serve the aim you acquire some yogurt. So this stresses that you just purchased the yogurt in preparation for the longer term. In consequence, out of the three patterns 〜ておいた most strongly implies your intention behind the motion.

ておく For Recurring Actions To Full Duties

Earlier, we talked about how 〜ておく can be utilized to explain a future motion, however that is not the one factor 〜ておく can categorical within the current tense. In actual fact, relying on the context it may also be used to specific a ordinary motion. Keep in mind, the basis of 〜ておく is the motion verb く (“to place”), and motion verbs when used within the current tense can categorical a common act or behavior of doing one thing, not solely a future motion. Let’s check out another instance of ~ておく within the current tense, bringing again the primary instance on this article, the window:

  • いつも夜は窓を開けておく。
  • I normally hold the window open at evening.

As you noticed beforehand on this instance, ~ている, ~てある, and ~ておく can be utilized interchangeably within the current tense to explain a ordinary motion or one thing you do recurrently for a cause. Nonetheless, there are delicate variations in nuance between them.

Of the three, 〜ておく is definitely essentially the most nuanced — it implies that you just did one thing to your future comfort. On this case, perhaps you retain the window open so you will not have to fret about getting too scorching and waking up in the course of the evening. Or, perhaps as a result of your children fantasize about Peter Pan coming by the window and taking them to Neverland.

Regardless of the cause, 〜ておく implies that no matter you are describing is one thing you need to get out of the way in which.

In any case, you don’t need your children waking you up in the course of the evening and complaining that you just did not depart the window open for Peter Pan, you recognize?

Now that we have coated all of the fundamentals, within the subsequent part we’ll take a deeper take a look at how the nuance adjustments with every sample relying on the scenario.

So…What is the Distinction In Conditions When They’re All Interchangeable?

Now let’s lastly get into the comparisons of the three patterns: 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく. As a fast overview, they’re basically interchangeable when used to explain the present state of one thing that resulted from a previous motion (normally one thing intentional).

So, what precisely is the distinction in these conditions once they can be utilized interchangeably? Let’s discover out by going by just a few examples and evaluating the nuances.

Totally different Ranges of Intention

expresses intention much less < expresses intention extra

ている てある ておく

One of many essential variations in nuance between 〜ている (or fairly, its shortened model てる), 〜てある, and 〜ておく is the extent of intention.

For the primary instance, let’s return to bento once more. Say that you just’re cooking (or have cooked) rice as a result of it is an important aspect of bento.

ご飯を い [てる・てある・ておいた] 。

Damaged down, ご飯 is “rice,” and the verb paired with it that means “to prepare dinner” is く. So what precisely is the distinction in nuance once we use every totally different sample?


Let’s check out ご飯を いてる. This sentence can truly be interpreted in a few methods. The primary is:

  • ご飯を炊いてる
  • I am cooking rice.
a rice cooker

This is without doubt one of the attainable translations — the current steady use of 〜ている to clarify what you are presently doing — means you might be in the course of cooking rice. (Notice that 〜てある and 〜ておく can’t be used to specific an motion that’s presently underway.)

The opposite attainable that means of this sentence is:

  • ご飯を炊いてる
  • The rice is cooked.

Keep in mind that 〜ている may also denote the ensuing state of an motion, i.e. the state of the rice that’s already cooked. So how have you learnt when it means what? That can rely on the context of the dialog. Say your child requested a sandwich for lunch, and also you say this to inform them that you just already made rice. (Too late, kiddo!) That is when 〜ている is interchangeable with 〜てある or 〜ておいた.

By way of intention, く is a transitive verb, and “rice being cooked” will not occur by itself (somebody’s gotta prepare dinner rice, you recognize?) so technically talking there’s some implication of this right here. Nonetheless, in comparison with the opposite two patterns, 〜ている would not emphasize the intentional nuance as a lot. So this model with 〜ている sounds such as you’re simply merely stating that you just cooked the rice and the rice is prepared.


Now, what about いてある? As a fast reminder, 〜てある describes a scenario the place you probably did one thing and also you left it that means for a cause.

  • ご飯を炊いてある。
  • The rice is cooked (for a cause).

In comparison with 〜ている, the 〜てある model has a stronger and clearer indication of the intention behind the scenario being described, as in case you are saying, “I cooked rice for a cause.” This model is often used if you need to draw consideration to one thing you have executed and particularly left that means. In different phrases, this nearly appears like a heads-up or the rationale for issues being the way in which they’re.

The explanation could possibly be for making onigiri, or no matter different cause you may prepare dinner rice. Implying that there is a cause for it naturally provides a extra intentional nuance, particularly in comparison with 〜ている. In that sense, this might make a good stronger assertion to your child who requested a sandwich on the final minute.


Lastly, 〜ておいた carries the strongest stage of intention. To remind you, 〜ておく principally signifies the act of doing one thing for future comfort.

  • ご飯を炊いておいた。
  • I cooked the rice (for future comfort).

So this sentence sounds such as you cooked the rice to make issues straightforward later. Now, remember, 〜ておく additionally provides off the vibe of doing one thing prematurely so you may put it out of your thoughts — such as you’re going forward and marking a activity off of your to-do record. It is a very nuanced expression!

〜ておく additionally provides off the vibe of doing one thing prematurely so you may put it out of your thoughts — such as you’re going forward and marking a activity off of your to-do record.

Possibly you began cooking the rice very first thing within the morning. It takes a while for rice to prepare dinner, and it’ll take a while for it to chill down so you may pack it within the bento. As soon as your children get up, you won’t get an opportunity to rinse the rice and begin the rice cooker. So, desirous about the precise course of, it is smart to prepare dinner it sooner fairly than later so you will not have to fret about it not being prepared in time.

You could by no means have on condition that a lot thought to the logistics of cooking rice, or perhaps it is already a stable routine of yours, however on this sense 〜ておく implies that you just had a thought course of and there was some type of planning concerned. This provides extra of the “intention” nuance in comparison with the opposite two patterns.

What’s extra, with 〜ておく the main target is definitely in your motion fairly than the ensuing scenario — we’ll discuss extra about this within the following part. This sample stresses your contribution, whereas the opposite two spotlight the truth that rice is cooked. So utilizing 〜ておく emphasizes your intention barely greater than 〜てある and may even sound somewhat extra braggy, such as you’re implying, “I did this to your comfort, okay?”

Scenario-Centered vs Motion-Centered

One other level of distinction is whether or not the emphasis is on the motion, or the ensuing state or scenario attributable to that motion. You might need seen the slight distinction within the earlier instance translations — “the rice is cooked” and “I cooked the rice.” Technically talking, this in the end relies on the context, however understanding the place the emphasis lies for every sample ought to allow you to get the gist of the variations in nuance somewhat higher.

Mainly, the principle distinction is that 〜てある focuses on the results of the motion (“the rice is cooked”) whereas 〜ておく focuses on the motion itself (“I cooked the rice”), and 〜ている is type of impartial and will deal with both relying on the context.

situation-focused action-focused

てある ている ておく

This is an instance to elaborate on what this implies. As an example you place strawberries within the bento as a result of that is your child’s favourite fruit. To ship this excellent news, you should use any of the three: 〜ている (or its shortened, extra natural-sounding model 〜てる), 〜てある, or 〜ておく:

お弁当にいちごを入れ [てる・てある・ておいた] よ!

Now let’s check out how every of those patterns can have a barely totally different nuanced that means.

〜てある (Scenario-Centered)

  • お弁当にいちごを入れあるよ!
  • There are strawberries within the bento (since you like strawberries)!
a bento with some strawberries in it

The foundation verb ある means “to exist,” so it is used to explain the way in which issues are fairly than the motion that prompted the scenario.

Right here, 〜てある is describing the scenario, fairly than the motion that prompted it. In different phrases, it describes the state of the strawberries being within the bento. It is calling specific consideration to the strawberries, so the implication of you placing them there takes a again seat to the strawberries themselves on this case.

Now, you is perhaps questioning about 〜ている as a result of its root verb additionally means “to exist.” It will possibly definitely be situation-focused, however we additionally want to consider how 〜ている can be used to check with an motion, particularly steady motion. We’ll discuss extra about this within the following part.

〜ている (Motion-Centered/Scenario-Centered)

  • お弁当にいちごを入れてるよ!
  • I’m placing strawberries within the bento!
    There are strawberries within the bento!

〜ている will be each situation-focused and action-focused, and the main target varies relying on the context. It is because 〜ている has two main features — one which emphasizes the motion itself (steady motion), and one which focuses on the scenario attributable to the motion (ensuing state). On this specific instance, 〜ている can point out the “motion,” similar to what you are presently doing (“I am placing strawberries in as we communicate”), or the state the place “strawberries are within the bento.”

〜ておく (Motion-Centered)

We talked about that the main target of 〜ておく is on the motion itself, which on this case is “placing strawberries within the bento.”

  • お弁当にいちごを入れておいたよ!
  • I put strawberries within the bento (as a result of I do know you will get pleasure from them)!

Which means 〜ておく is used to speak about an motion taken with the intention of making a sure scenario, whereas 〜ている and 〜てある describe the scenario that is attributable to the motion.

〜ておく is used to speak about an motion taken with the intention of making a sure scenario

It is perhaps good to consider this from the viewpoint of the basis verb く(to place) as properly. く is an motion verb, or a verb that signifies an motion — “placing.” In contrast, the verbs いる and ある are stative verbs that means “to exist.” There is not any categorical motion concerned; they merely point out the state of one thing. This may allow you to keep in mind that 〜ておく is extra “action-focused” whereas the opposite two are “situation-focused,” describing how issues are as the results of the motion.

Speaking About Your Habits

Like we talked about earlier within the instance about holding the window open at evening, 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく can be utilized interchangeably to speak about your habits. So let’s check out the ultimate nuance, evaluating the three patterns when speaking about habits, after which overview what you have discovered thus far.

Say you are on the park speaking to a different guardian whereas your children are enjoying. But it surely’s awkward. You want some excuse to go away so that you casually drop in one thing about your day by day schedule and say:

  • いつも、6時にはお風呂をわかし [てる・てある・ておく] んだ。
  • I normally have the bathtub prepared by 6 p.m.

Once more, all three patterns are interchangeable right here, however with a really slight distinction in nuance between 〜ておく and 〜てある. Oh, and see that 〜ておく isn’t prior to now tense right here nevertheless it works effective since you’re speaking a couple of common behavior. Now, let’s take a better take a look at how every one works.


  • いつも、6時にはお風呂をわかしてるんだ。
  • I normally have the bathtub prepared by 6 p.m.
    I normally run a scorching tub by 6 p.m.

In the identical vein as describing what you are presently doing, 〜ている may also be used to explain your habits, as a result of a behavior is one thing you do generally (not simply an motion happening within the present second). On this case, it is also describing the ensuing state of the bathtub being prepared by 6 p.m., so it is interchangeable with 〜てある and 〜ておく.

〜ている may also be used to explain your habits, as a result of a behavior is one thing you do generally

Keep in mind how 〜ている will be situation-focused and action-focused? This specific instance truly feels a bit obscure when it comes to the main target as a result of it is a mixture of each: 〜ている describing a ordinary motion in addition to the ensuing scenario. In that sense, this sentence leaves it unclear whether or not you begin operating scorching water by 6 p.m. otherwise you have it prepared by 6 p.m. — It could possibly be interpreted in each methods.

And, how else is that this use of 〜ている totally different from the opposite two? This 〜ている model is solely explaining your behavior of getting the bathtub prepared by 6 p.m. Descriptive and easy, there’s not a lot additional nuance to it in comparison with the opposite two.


  • いつも、6時にはお風呂をわかしてあるんだ。
  • I normally have the bathtub prepared by 6 p.m. (for a cause).

Right here, 〜てある is describing the day by day scenario that you just normally have the bathtub prepared and stuffed by 6 p.m. As a result of 〜てある is situation-focused, fairly than action-focused, the emphasis on this instance is on the bathtub and it being prepared and scorching. It additionally implies that there is a specific cause, which is perhaps form of apparent on this case — for you or your loved ones to take a shower. Possibly you could have it prepared by 6 p.m. since you prefer to take a shower after dinner. Or perhaps to let your pet capybaras soak and swim in it. Who is aware of, however 〜てある implies you probably did it for a cause.


  • いつも、6時にはお風呂をわかしておくんだ。
  • I normally have the bathtub prepared by 6 p.m. (so I will not have to fret concerning the tub not being prepared by the point somebody wants it).

〜ておく right here is describing your ordinary motion of operating the bathtub and having it prepared by 6 p.m., emphasizing that you just achieve this to your future comfort. Keep in mind, 〜ておく is action-focused so it places an emphasis on the motion you carry out.

The nuance of 〜ておく is that you just carry out the motion so that you’re executed with the duty and you’ll put it out of your thoughts. Possibly your accomplice comes residence at 6:01 and takes a shower at 6:02 on daily basis. You’d need to mark off this activity of your to-dos in order that you do not fear about messing up their day by day schedule by any likelihood.

Beginning a New Behavior

We might in all probability put together 100 extra examples that will help you grasp the nuanced variations between 〜ている, 〜てある, and 〜ておく, however for now let’s depart it right here so you may put it apart and course of what you discovered.

Hopefully, you could have a good suggestion of how all three kinds differ, and the implications behind utilizing them to speak about one thing you are presently doing or do recurrently, the present state of issues, or one thing you ready prematurely to your future comfort.

Like many phrases in Japanese, rather a lot can rely on the context. However the extra you apply, the extra progress you will make in mastering these kinds!

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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