Last week I wrote “てForm + います” expresses an action being undertaken and that in English the same thing can be described by using “be + ing”. It is true but it is not always true.


ジョンさんはすわっていますcan be translated as “John is sitting down” as I wrote last week but it does not mean that the action of “sitting down” is being undertaken. The action of “sitting down” is something that is over in a second, so in this case すわっています describes the continual state as a result of an action that has been completed. Oh, this sounds too technical… I don’t like that but …


When you go to a hospital with a broken bone, the doctor will say:

骨(ほね)が折(お)れています, although its English translation is “the bone is broken,” NOT “the bone is breaking.”


Similar examples are:

木(き)が枯(か)れています= the tree has died.

ベランダが濡(ぬ)れています= the veranda is wet.

Probably, I should write a bit more about these verbs but I will save it for later.


By the way, 骨が折れる is a set expression in Japanese to mean “to have a lot of trouble” and/or “it is hard work to ~”.

(= It is so much work to explain grammar.)

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