もった vs もっている: te-form versus past tense for certain verbs

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by Firewall, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. Firewall New Member

    Hello, I have another question (independent of the one I asked earlier).

    Here's an example, a dictionary definition for 神童 from the goo.jp online dictionary:

    In the second sentence, why is もった used instead of もっている?
    To me, their use of past form implies either:
    A. A kid (子供) could receive rare (
    非凡な) talent, but then lose it, and still be considered a 神童
    B: もつ in this case (才能をもつ) is sort of like a one-way, one-time permanent operation, so もった and もっている basically mean the same thing.

    Another verb that I see with similar ambiguities is 知る.

    What do you think?
  2. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    It works like an adjective.

    You can also say

    As far as I know, which form can be used totally depends on the verb itself. You have to remember them one by one.

    The negative form is annoying, too.

    both sound OK to me.
    But 才能を持たなかった doesn't

    I seldom see ~が優れる人 and the negative form of 優れる, so I don't know if they exist.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  3. Tonky Senior Member

    B. もった sounds more literary-ish than もっている when modifying imo, but here is a good summary answer to the similar question.

    example conversations;
    子供「あ・・・忘れてた(=持ってない)」(※持たなかった is incorrect.)​


    As you can see, た and ている are almost the same with these verbs, but not exactly the same. た states that you acquired the stuff (for 持つ) or the knowledge (for わかる)while ている implies that it has been a while since you acquired it. (the listener may not have been there when you acquired it.)
    These can be seen with many other 瞬間動詞, such as 落ちる, 座る, 立つ and so on. (cf. 継続動詞 such as 遊ぶ, 走る, 書く, etc.)

    知る is a bit different though.

    You can say 知った顔、知ったかぶり、知ったこと and so on, but you cannot say「知った?/知りましたか?」as a question.

    優れる人 is awkward, but 優れた人 and 優れている人 are fine.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  4. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    Tonky-san, I think the ている's and た's from your examples are used in predicates (no matter they are modifying nouns or at the end of sentences), which are very different to the ている's from the OP's question.

    The ている's and た's from the OP's questions don't carry any information of tense or aspect or modality.
    They are just adjectives, happen to have the same form as verb.
    Which form should be used is nearly unpredictable. (At least I couldn't find any firm rules.)
    The usage can be compared to many English participles.


    By the way, Words like 理解する、わかる、知る are very very special.
    分かった is a confirmation to the listener, something like “I see” or “Got it”.
    We don't say 知った to express the same thing, although I see 知りぬ was used. (われ朝ごと夕ごとに見る竹の中におはするにて知りぬ)
  5. Tonky Senior Member

    I know what you are trying to say there, YangMuye-san, but they are still 修飾句, usually taught as た形+名詞、ている形+名詞 in JSL. It works like an adjective in English, but it is a modifier in Japanese, coming from a sentence, (その)子供が非凡な才を持つ・持っている・持った. The difference here with 持った and 持っている are vague, as you say, and I could only say "rather literary-ish" for 持った, but with some other verbs you can find some differences, as mentioned in the above link.
  6. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    I think the difference between た andている exists. But I also think it might be helpful to know sometimes ている and た in modifying clauses are not (do not need to be) the same things as those at the end of the sentences.

    I read that article long time ago, but I don't think it's a good explanation to the question.

    Not every modifying clause comes from a sentence. Some modifying clauses must be different. E.g:
    人が多い ->?多いひとがいる


    It's very hard for me to think すぐれた 似た 違った are any completed actions.
    優れる is 第四類動詞 according to 金田一's classification (if I recall correctly, ).

    金田一 think 瞬間動詞 with ている expresses the result state of an action.
    I still find the meaning of "result state" is often not as I expect.

    More over, many verbs have significantly different meaning in ている form and た(連体)form.
    変わった人 does not need to mean 人が変わった.

    As I said before, many verbs require one or more forms when used as adjectives, while some don't have such usage at all.

    Which form to use and the meaning of that form are more or less unpredictable.
    I just end up remembering them one by one.


    Many verbs can take more than one forms (usually chosen from する した している しない していない) to express "state". わかる and ちがう are famous examples.
    I saw many discussions, but can't find a good conclusion.
    The question is even harder than explaining the difference between た(中止形) and ている (中止形).
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  7. Tonky Senior Member

    You're right there. It sounds a bit special case to me though. 変わった人's 人が変わった is referring to the difference from other people in general, while 人が変わった with a certain context means that the person himself/herself has changed from who he/she was. 人 here refers to a different subject.
    (Also, 人が多い教室, this is い-adjective, from (この)教室は人が多い and we do not apply いる here, yet you bring up 多い人がいる.
    金がほしい人は俺について来い is from (私は)金がほしい, and when you change it to 彼, it'll be 金をほしがっている(た)彼は俺について来た. )

    But either way, I should think this over a bit more. To me, it sounds like you are bringing up exceptions and say no rules, but I can be quite wrong.

    Can you elaborate a bit more on this?
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2013
  8. Firewall New Member

    any reason why it's 優れている and not 優れた? I'm pretty sure すぐれる is the same type of 瞬間動詞 (thanks by the way, learned a new word) as もつ、but even in the same definition, the tense is different for the two verbs.
  9. Tonky Senior Member

    優れる is, according to the definition by 金田一, not 瞬間動詞, but called 第四種の動詞 or 形状動詞 that describes the status instead. At least, that is what YangMuye-san is talking about here. This is a matter of "aspect" or (そう) and not about tense.
  10. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    The four sentences in #6 represent four types of situations.

    We say 人が多い while we don't say 多い人, although we can say 人が多い教室. 多くの人 is fine anyway.
    Not every sentence can become a modifying clause.

    We say 金が欲しい人 while we don't normally say 人は金が欲しい.
    Not every modifying clause has its predicative counterpart.

    Even 金が欲しい can be used in modifying clauses,
    金が欲しい人 is still different from ?金が欲しいその人.
    For the latter one, 金が欲しがっているその人 is usually used.

    The functions of modifying clauses are different.

    I'm being a little radical here but that is what I think.
    I think the rules are at the lexical level rather than the semantic level.
    The examples may sound like exceptions to natives, but they are basically the same as all other verbs to me.

    Actually, that many common verbs can be used in this way surprised me, because we don't use them in the same way in Chinese.

    Think twice this topic.

    Japanese is a Language rich in nouns, but inadequate of adjectives.
    However, I don't think people speaking Japanese have any problems expressing common concepts which we usually use adjectives to express.
    It's very very common to use verbs or nouns to express abstract state, or use nouns to express actions in Japanese.

    You may think 閉じた門 means 門は閉じた、そしてその状態にある, just as you say in English “The closed door is closed
    A quick learner may create English sentences like “The opened door is opened”. (The door is open, or was opened)
    People may wonder, why the door is closed but not opened?

    They just don't follow the same logic.
    The form may fool you into thinking it's a verb, and the meaning should be related to its verb usage, but it's often false.

    I think every word has its own usage. This not only applies to verbs, but also to adjectives, adverbs and nouns.

    Simply remembering them one by one might be far more effortless than trying to find out the rules (if they really exist).

    I'm a lazy thinker, so I chose the former.
    Anyway, knowing such "rules", I can learn new words and guess their meanings once I see the way they are used without looking up them in a dictionary.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  11. Tonky Senior Member

    I've found an interesting article on the history of 完了の助動詞 for you, YangMuye-san ;)
    Its main focus there is し, but I think it is inspiring to think over.

    By the way, human-beings love rules. When many enough people find that a rule is messed up, they tend to fix it unconsciously by changing the rule to fit the usage even though it takes ages, just like recent ら抜き言葉 and other new usages, but it always leaves out rooms for some exceptions to let 慣用 stay.

    I know you are arguing that 連体形 and 終止形 should be treated differently. I'm still pondering on it.
  12. Firewall New Member

    wait, aren't the 優れている in 優れている子 and
    the 持った in 才能を持った子
    and even further, 優れた in 優れた子, and 持っている in 才能を持っている子
    all 完了相? I'm mainly basing this off what I read in the wikipedia article on 完了相。 It mentions that the た in a 連体形 doesn't imply 過去刑 (and so 「持った子」の持った, etc wouldn't be 完結相)
    Is this actually the case? It's a citationless wikipedia article, so I dunno.

    Regarding my last question, what I wasn't sure about what that it seems to me that in the OP, 「優れている」and 「持った」
    could be replaced with any of
    「優れている」and 「持っている」
    「優れた」and 「持っている」
    「優れた」and 「持った」

    without any loss of meaning (and, if my interpretation of the wiki is correct, and the wiki is correct, same 相)
    If this is the case, that all four combinations are basically interchangeable without major loss of meaning, I wanted to know what the smaller implications and differences were. Tonky mentioned that た is more literary-ish, which I agree with, except that in the original definition, its すぐれている instead of すぐれた. The definition I read for 形状動詞 added some limitations (優れる always becomes 優れている), but I don't think that applies here because it's a 連体形 not a 文末. I got my definition for 形状動詞 off the nihongokyoushi site. It didn't give a very full explanation though, and this is the first time I'm hearing about 形状動詞 so I don't know if I'm characterizing the situation correctly.

    What is the difference between 優れた and 優れている?
    why did the writer choose this specific combination out of the four feasible ones (that just involve changing the suffixes)?
    Are 優れている and 持った (they way they are used in this sentence, 連体形) more common than 優れた and 持っている?
    things like that.
  13. Tonky Senior Member

    Firewall-san, that is why my first post is there on this thread, but I do not have time to explain now. I'll get back to you later.
  14. Firewall New Member

    Yes, please explain that too. Does that explanation apply for this situation of 優れている also?
    If so, why would you use 優れている, which, in that definition, describes something that happened recently, for the first sentence, and then and use 持った、which implies something that happened recently, for the second sentence?

    thanks for the patient explanations, by the way, both of you
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  15. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    This is an article talking about た and ている. 田川 拓海 『連体節における状態のタの統語的分析と否定辞の統語的位置

    He said
    As I said in another thread,
    I guess that's the difference between 金が欲しい人 and 金を欲しがっているその人, the latter refers to an individual.

    Moreover, I have found some interesting usages of ている, e.g.
    The speaker does not see or know what has happened, but he can still use ている to describe the situation and we will not think he is lying.
    I'm not sure if it is the “state ている” or the “evidence ている”, the difference is vague here.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  16. Tonky Senior Member

    I'm trying to organize it, but, it's pretty tough and I'm sorry that it is not organized well.

    First of all, 4 kinds of verbs, 状態動詞・継続動詞・瞬間動詞・形状動詞(第4種の動詞)

    ① does not take "~ている"
    ②+ている talks about ongoing actions. 書いている、話している; ②+た talks about past actions. 書いた、話した、等
    ③+ている talks about the current status, the result of an event or action. 落ちている、立っている; ③+た talks about a past event or action 落ちた、立った、等 (落ちた sometime in the past → 落ちている the resulting condition now)
    ④+ている describes the status of the subject. 優れている、似ている; ④+た is used only in 連体形 to modify nouns and cannot end a sentence with it. 優れた~、似た~、等

    So, what the Japanese explanation in the link I gave in my first post says is as follows;

    書いているものを見せてください。Please show what you are writing (now).
    書いたものを見せてください。Please show what you have written/what you wrote.
    With these verbs, you can clearly see the difference.

    落ちた鉛筆を拾いました。I picked up the pencil that fell (off previously).
    落ちている鉛筆を拾いました。I picked up the pencil on the floor/ground (as a result of it falling off sometime in the past).
    With these verbs, the difference may be harder for non-natives to see, but native speakers distinguish these.
    With ている, we do not know when the pencil fell off the desk, maybe someone had placed it on the floor on purpose, maybe someone dropped it, but "I" am not aware how it ended up on the floor/ground. It is possible that we do not know when it fell, or when or how it fell does not matter much. On the other hand, with た, "I" most likely saw it fell, maybe "I" dropped it. This part is what I referred to as time difference.

    シロに似た犬です。It is a dog that looks like Shiro.
    シロに似ている犬です。It is (that) dog that looks like Shiro.
    With these, the difference is almost nil, but there is a very vague one. Many may not distinguish.
    The explanation in the above link says た is used to describe the attribute/property(属性), as in "What is your dog like?", "It's white, its ears down, and it looks like the dog Sato-san has", while ている is used to describe the characteristic or nature of the object to identify at the scene, as in "Which dog is yours?", "It's the one right over there, see, the one looking like Sato-san's dog". (if you bring both dogs together and compare them, they *may* not look alike.)

    With 優れた and 優れている.
    Now, let's change this to modifying forms and see.
    値引き交渉に優れた女性 "women, who are (in general) good at price negotiations"
    値引き交渉に優れている女性 "a woman who is good at price negotiations"
    As you can see, た *could* make it non-restrictive, while ている usually makes it restrictive.
    (This may be what YangMuye-san says ている sounds more "individual" for, although I myself cannot grasp his/her explanation very well.)
    ★Please note that the former with た can often mean the same as the latter with ている and be interchangeable. This is applied only when we want to distinguish them.


    However, now, after thinking it over for hours, I'm seeing a different view, thanks to YangMuye-san's tips (I did not understand them all, but some hint words helped... or rather took me into a maze).

    *才知の極めて優れた子供 "a child, whose intelligence is (in general) extremely outstanding"
    才知の極めて優れている子供 "a child whose intelligence is extremely outstanding"

    With these, the main problem or awkwardness that lies there seems to be with の and 極めて and not the restrictive vs non-restrictive view. If I replace の with に and remove 極めて to make it 才知優れた子供, it actually sounds fine. (Mind you, some Japanese may not find any awkwardness with の at once, but many would most likely correct it with に as they proofread it later. ※)
    才知に優れた can be one adjectival phrase, but 才知の(が)極めて優れている is a modifying clause (with 才知 as a nominative case).

    When we see them as two different functions, one being a phrase, another a clause,
    These can be also said that the former 非凡な才能を持った is an adjectival phrase to describe 子供, and the latter 非凡な才能を持っている is a modifying clause to describe 子供, and the only difference we find is "literary-ish" feeling.

    After all, た form may be appropriate when it is treated as an "adjectival form of verb", but ている form may sit better when it should be a modifying clause. (Just like, "a barking dog" is fine, but "a dog that is barking very loud" and not "a very-loud barking dog".)

    (Still, I personally do not like this explanation, but it is probably because I'm native and not used to think this way.)

    Here are some memos that I cannot really decide how to organize yet.

    優れた業績(学者、芸術家…)(This is natural)
    *優れている業績(学者、芸術家…) (This is awkward)
    I'm thinking this over and over why ている sounds awkward when the modified noun "業績(学者、芸術家)" = "優れている".
    Then, I've been staring at these too long and I may not be judging correctly...

    Wordの優れた機能 // The superior functions of Word
    *Wordの優れている機能? (awkwardness is the same as 優れている業績 above)
    ~機能の(に)優れたWord? // Word, which has superior functions of ~ (に makes it natural)
    ~機能の(が)優れているWord // Word, whose ~ functions are superior


    This is to YangMuye-san, referring to the research article you linked. In that article, it talks about 端っこ が/の 濡れたタオル, that が/の can occur and they are interchangeable. Yes, I do agree there, but not with 才知の優れた子供. Maybe it has something to do with 濡れた being ③ and not ④.

    The more I try to write, the less organized it becomes, so I'll just throw this in here for now and may say something different later.

    @YangMuye-san, as for 寝かされている, please refer to another verb classification of 主体動作・客体変化動詞.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2013
  17. Firewall New Member

    hmmmmmm ok, I think I kind of get what you are saying about 優れた/ている now...
    man, I feel like I learned a lot from just this one example.

    thanks for your help!
  18. YangMuye

    YangMuye Senior Member

    I have been thinking about this for days, but I still don't have any good ideas.
    The “concrete” or “abstract” I said in that post actually refers to events, not attributes.
    You use ている to describe repeated actions which has actually happened, and する to state a rule that something will happen repeatedly.

    I find the explanation does not fit well here.

    There are at least 4 questions I can't find an answer:

    1. What are the functions of ている.
    2. What are the functions of a modifying clause.
    3. How do the tense and the aspect work in a modifying clause.
    4. How do the tense and the aspect work in sentences expressing generalization or something abstract and irrelevant to time.

    I will keep on studying them.
  19. frequency

    frequency Senior Member

    Tokyo, Japan
    ○凹=3  Oh really.

    YangMuye and Firewall,

    Either is OK. I don't see any differences or think that we're strictly defined to use which.

    The kid holding flowers

    When 持っている is 'to hold', and you want to emphasise that the kid is now holding them, 持っている is better. But I don't think we're strictly defined in this case too: 花を持った子供 is OK, too.

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