How do you say “To have” in Japanese?

I need some help learning how to say “to have” or possess an object, such as an apple or a book. Does anyone know? Thank you.

Thanks Beau C =) That should make it clear to me. And not only Tanaka but everyone else is getting thumbs down. Whoever is doing that, please stop. Everyone here is giving perfectly good, helpful explanations.

5 Answers

  • Why are you guys all giving the top guy thumbs down? He has given a perfectly legitimate answer. Only he has not used polite form. Russel and Tanaka (田中) are both correct


    Anyways, i’ll give him a thumbs up!

    My answer.

    There are two ways to say you have something.

    To say, for example, you have a book or apple, you would say ____ga arimasu (or aru, aru is the plain form of arimasu)


    I have an apple – ringo ga arimasu

    I have a book – hon ga arimasu

    To say you have something that is animate (living) you would say ____ga imasu (iru is the plain form of imasu)


    I have a dog – inu ga arimasu

    I have an older brother – ani ga arimasu.

    Be careful if you are trying to say HOW MANY of something you have. There are counter for nearly everything.

    If you want to say “I have 2 apples” you don’t say “ni ringo ga arimasu” you would say “ringo ga futatsu arimasu”. Here, futatsu is the counter for “things” a broad counter.

    I’ll give you the “tsu” counters

    1 hitotsu

    2 futatsu

    3 mittsu

    4 yottsu

    5 itsutsu

    6 muttsu

    7 nanatsu

    8 yattsu

    9 kokonotsu

    10 too

    If you want to count animals, the MAIN counter for animals is the “hiki” counter.

    Example – I have 3 dogs IS NOT “san inu ga imasu”, it is “inu ga sanbiki imasu

    Here are the “hiki” counters

    1 ippiki

    2 nihiki

    3 sanbiki

    4 yonhiki

    5 gohiki

    6 roppiki

    7 nanahiki

    8 happiki

    9 kyuuhiki

    10 juppiki/jippiki

    So they are the counters for animals. There are many many many counters. Counters for flat objets, round objects, birds, big animals, small animals, drinks, people, books (if you need the book counter let me know) and more.

    So, to completely answer your question,

    I have a book – hon ga arimasu (hon ga aru)

    I have an apple – ringo ga arimasu (ringo ga aru)


  • To Have In Japanese

  • To have or possess something is expressed with the verb motsu (which also means to carry or hold).

    Kare wa ringo wo motte imasu. (He has an apple)

    Kare wa hon wo motte imasu (He has a book)

    aru and iru are equivalent to the verb to be in English and show that something exists.

    Ringo ga aru.

    Ringo ga arimasu.

    Both of these mean “There is an apple.”

    However, when a Japanese person asks someone “Do you have an apple?” (Ringo wo motte imasu ka?) the answer is often “Hai, arimasu” and not “Hai, motte imasu.”

  • Apple and book- aru.

    Ringo ga arimasu/hon ga arimasu.

    Aru is for inanimate objects.

    Iru for animate.

  • “arimasu” means “there is”. If you want to say you possess it, use “motte imasu”.

    hon wo motte imasu.

Leave a Comment