arimasu and imasu are 2 Japanese verbs used to express existence of thing and people/animal respectively.
あります (arimasu) is used when what is present does not move by itself, like thing or plant.
On the other hand います (imasu) is used when what is present moves by himself/itself, like people or animal.
The simplest form of sentence to express existence will be...
Noun が あります
Noun ga arimasu
Meaning: There is a Noun. (for inanimate thing including plant)
Noun が います
Noun ga imasu
Meaning: There is a Noun. (for people and animal)
The thing, people and animal in the above sentence structures are treated as subjects and hence marked with the particle が (ga). Let's use some examples to demonstrate the above format...
To indicate the place where the subject is present, use the particle に (ni).
Place に Noun があります
Place ni Noun ga arimasu
Meaning: There is a Noun in/at the Place. (for inanimate thing including plant)
Place に Noun がいます
Place ni Noun ga imasu
Meaning: There is a Noun in/at the Place. (for people and animal)
Using some examples to show the above format...
In lesson 3 on Japanese noun part 2 I have mentioned that you can use one noun to modify another noun. One of the meanings is to describe the location.
I will give more examples on the above so that we can use the location in the existence sentence structure.
|3.||前||まえ||mae||in front of|
|10.||横||よこ||yoko||next to (left or right)|
|11.||隣||となり||tonari||next to (left or right, but limited to same category)|
With the above location words, you can describe the place in the existence sentence more specifically. For example...
To ask a question, you need to use some question words like だれ (dare) for people and なに (nani) for animal and thing. Look at the following format...
Place に だれ がいますか
Place ni dare ga imasuka
Meaning: Who is in/at the Place? (existence of people)
Place に なに がいますか
Place ni nani ga imasuka
Meaning: What is in/at the Place? (existence of animal)
Place に なに がありますか
Place ni nani ga arimasuka
Meaning: What is in/at the Place? (existence of thing)
To show with some examples...
Sometimes the question is in such a format that you need to answer yes or no, like the following...
Question: Place に Subject がいますか/ありますか
Answer: はい、 Subject がいます/あります (positive answer)
Answer: いいえ、 Subject
がはいません/ありません (negative answer)
Generally, particle は is used for negative sentences.
Negative form of います → いません (imasen)
Negative form of あります → ありません (arimasen)
Using some examples...
When there is nothing or no one exists in a place, use the following format...
Place には だれも いません
Place niwa dare mo imasen
Meaning: No one exists in/at the Place. (people)
Place には なにも いません
Place niwa nani mo imasen
Meaning: Nothing exists in/at the Place. (animal)
Place には なにも ありません
Place niwa nani mo arimasen
Meaning: Nothing exists in/at the Place. (thing)
When the speaker is talking about something or someone both he and the listener know about, you should use the following sentence pattern...
Person は Place にいます
Person wa Place ni imasu
Meaning: Person is in the Place.
Thing は Place にあります
Thing wa Place ni arimasu
Meaning: Thing is in the Place.
And when you want to ask where is the place for the above sentence pattern, use the question word どこ...
Person は どこ にいますか
Person wa doko ni imasuka
Meaning: Where is the Person?
Thing は どこ にありますか
Thing wa doko ni arimasuka
Meaning: Where is the thing?
Using some examples to show the above sentence patterns...