Module 11.1 – I’m eating breakfast

A verb usually describes an action but there are 2 types of actions

  1. Actions that requires a period of time to complete like “eating” and “listening.”
    • -ますform of these verbs describe that the action takes place as opposed to NOT taking place.
  2. Actions that can be completed in a moment like “sitting” and “standing.”
    • -ますform of these verbs describe an action yet to take place.

てform + います

While -ます form verb describes an action, if you want to describe a state or condition that continues a while, we use the verb in てform and add います after that.

  • For the 1st group of verbs, it describe the action of the verb is in progress – “be + -ing”
  • For the 2nd group of verbs, it describes a state/condition after an action has been completed – ”stative verb”

Examples of “action in progress”

The action of these verbs takes a while to be completed.

  1. あさごはんを たべて います
    I am eating breakfast.
  2. おとうとは テレビを みて います
    My brother is watching TV.
  3. いま ちちは ぎゅうにゅうを のんで います
    My dad is drinking milk now.
  4. あには しんぶんを よんで います
    My brother is reading newspaper.
  5. いもうとは いま しゅくだいを して います
    My sister is doing her homework now.
  6. そのとき、ラジオを きいて いました
    Then, I was listening to the radio.
  7. あのとき、母は ないて いました
    At that time, my mother was crying.
  8. ごめんなさい、きのうは いそいで いました
    I’m sorry. I was in a hurry yesterday.
  9. むすこは こうえんで あそんでいます。
    My son is playing in the playground.

If these sentences have a word like まいにち (every day)、いつも (always), etc., [てform] + います can describe an action which takes place regularly.

  1. まいにち あさごはんを たべて います。
    I eat breakfast every day.
  2. おとうとは いつも テレビを みて います。
    My brother is always watching TV.
  3. ちちは まいしゅう にちようび ぎゅうにゅうを のんで います。
    My dad drinks milk every Sunday.
  4. あには まいあさ しんぶんを よんで います。
    My brother reads newspaper every morning.
  5. いもうとは いつも しゅくだいを しています。
    My sister is always doing her homework.
  6. まいにち 5キロ あるいています。
    I walk 5 km every day.
  7. まいしゅう にくを 2キロ たべています。
    We eat 2 kg of meat every week.
  8. おっとは まいにち はしっています。
    My husband runs every day.

When the verbs listed above are using in the -ます form, it usually describes the action takes place as opposed to not taking place.

  • あさごはんを たべます
    I eat breakfast. (as opposed to I don’t eat breakfast.)
  • おとうとは テレビを みます
    My brother watches TV. (as opposed to he doesn’t)
  • ちちは ぎゅうにゅうを のみます
    My dad drinks milk. (as opposed to he doesn’t)
  • あには しんぶんを よみます
    My brother reads newspaper. (as opposed to he doesn’t)
  • いもうとは しゅくだいを します
    My sister does her homework. (as opposed to she doesn’t)

Examples of “state/condition after an action”

The action of these verbs doesn’t last long.

  1. いすに すわって います
    I am sitting down on a chair.
  2. バスに のって います
    I am on a bus.
  3. でんしゃが こんでいるから、たっています
    As the train is crowded, I am standing up.
  4. ぎんこうは 九時から あいて います
    The bank has been open since 9 o’clock.
  5. きょうは ワンピースを きて います
    I have a dress on today.
  6. ジョンさんの でんわばんごうを しっていますか。
    Do you know John’s telephone number?
  7. でんきが きえて います
    The light is off.
  8. テレビにでています
    He is on TV.
  9. くるまが とまっています
    A car is parked.
  10. あのクラブに はいっています
    I belong to that club.
  11. でかけています
    I am out.

If these verbs are used in the -ます form, that describes the action is yet to take place.

  1. いすに すわります
    I will sit down on a chair.
  2. バスに のります
    I will board a bus.
  3. でんしゃが こんでいるから、たちます
    As the train is crowded, I will stand up.
  4. ぎんこうは 九時に あきます
    The bank will open at 9 o’clock.
  5. きょうは ワンピースを きます
    I will wear a dress on today.
  6. ジョンさんの でんわばんごうを しります。(a bit unnatural)
    I will get to know John’s phone number. – very unlikely sentence to see or hear in ordinary situations. For more explanation read: 知りません
  7. でんきが きえます
    The light will go off.
  8. テレビにでます
    He will be on TV.
  9. くるまがとまります
    The car will stop parked.
  10. あのクラブに はいります
    I will belong to that club.
  11. でかけます
    I will go out now.

Verbs that cannot be used in this pattern.

These verbs describe a state, rather than an action.

Suggested activities

  • Read the example sentences out loud so that you can memorize the phrases.
  • Describe what people around you are doing right now.
  • Pick a time in the past and describe what you were doing and not doing then.

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Course: JLPT N5