Teach Us, Teacher
IMASU and ARIMASU (Lesson 10)In Lesson 7, Anna was surprised at seeing many cakes at the store, and said KÊKI GA IPPAI ARIMASU (There are lots of cakes). As in this case, if the subject is an inanimate thing, we use ARIMASU. We decide whether a thing is animate or inanimate, not only on whether it is alive, but also on whether it can move of its own will.
Plants are living things, but they cannot move. So, we use ARIMASU for them. Fish sold at a store cannot move. So, we use ARIMASU for them, too. But fish in a water tank are moving around. So, we use IMASU.
Buses and cars, in themselves, do not move of their own will. But if they have a driver at the wheel, we use IMASU. To summarize, the verb to express the existence of people and animals is IMASU, (There is, There are, to exist). Its negative form is IMASEN (There is not, There are not, not to exist).
When we talk about the existence of inanimate things, we use ARIMASU (There is, There are, to exist). Its negative form is ARIMASEN (There are not, not to exist).