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ふとい/ふとる/ふとっている/ふとくなる

ふとい/ふとる/ふとっている/ふとくなる

Today’s Question

Somebody wanted to say “Mum (has) put some weight on.”
She thought of the following 2 sentences:
A: ははふとった and B: ははふとくなった

Which of the following 1, 2, 3 or 4 is correct?

  1. A is correct and B is wrong.
  2. B is correct and A is wrong.
  3. A and B are both correct.
  4. A and B are both wrong.

Today’s Topic

Today’s topic is difference between ふとい and ふとる. If you understand the difference between the two, you will not be confused between ふとい and ふとっている, ふとる and ふとくなる ever again.

ふとい is an いadjective meaning:

  1. (for something slender like a stick, line, etc. to be) big, thick, bold, pudgy
  2. (for voice to be) deep
  3. (for attitude to be) shameless, impudent

An adjective is a word that describes an attribute of a noun, so ふとい is used to describe the condition of “something” being fat/big.

ふとる is an intransitive verb meaning:

  1. (for a person or an animal) to put on weight, to get fat
  2. (for a person) to become rich, to acquire wealth

ふとる is a verb describing a change from being not fat/big to being fat/big, so if you change ふとる into ふとっている, ふとっている should describe a condition of a person or an animal after gaining weight, i.e. “being fat/big.”

When you are describing the condition/status of being fat/big

Here what you have to remember is ふとい is for an object and ふとっている for a person or an animal.

This pencil is fat.
(✓)この鉛筆えんぴつふとい。
(×)この鉛筆えんぴつふとっている。

Please draw a thick line.
(✓)ふとせんいてください。
(×)ふとっているせんいてください。

My legs are fat.
(✓)わたしあしふとい。
(×)わたしあしふとっている。

My father is fat.
(?)ちちふとい。
(✓)ちちふとっている。

That fat dog is mine.
(×)あのふといぬわたしいぬです。
(✓)あのふとっているいぬわたしいぬです。
(✓)あのふとったいぬわたしいぬです。(In a contact clause, ふとっている and ふとった mean almost the same.)

The reason why I put “?” instead of “×” for ちちふと is that if I am simply comparing the thickness between a person’s body and a tree trunk, ふとい can be used. Also, if I’m thinking of Dad’s body to be an object that should be slender, it is not wrong to use ふとい there, either, although I think it’s better to avoid it as thinking of a person’s body as an object is not that nice.

When you are describing a change of becoming big/fat

Now if you want to describe a change, for things, we use 太くなる and for a person or an animal, we use 太る. (For explanation about [いadjective stem] + く + なる, please read this post.)

This branch has grown thicker.
(✓)このえだふとくなった。
(×)このえだふとった。

My legs got fatter.
(✓)わたしあしふとくなった。
(?)わたしあしふとった。 – this gives an impression that the speaker is considering his/her own legs as an independent organism – I understand sometimes we feel like talking like that!

My father put some weight on.
(×)ちちふとくなった
(✓)ちちふとった。

Answer to Today’s Question: 1

Because we are talking about Mum’s change from being thin to being big/fat, it has to be ふとった.

For more information about the kanji , click here.

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