Random monster

desu, iru and aru can all be translated as "to be" in English, but they all have different meanings

desu です

desu corresponds to "is" as in the example sentences below

kore wa hon desu this is a book
otenki ga waruii desu the weather is bad
watashi-no otosan wa funanori deshita my father was a sailor

Notice the past tense slipped into the last sentence. Desu isn't used in all tenses like most "normal" verbs but can be used as below

desu - to bePositiveNegative
Present Plaindadewa nai
Politedesudewa arimasen
Past Plaindattadewa nakatta
Politedeshitadewa arimasen deshita
Probable Plaindarōdewa nai darō
Politedeshōdewa nai deshō

desu is also known as the Copula

aru ある

aru means is or exists for the location of inaminate objects

okane ga arimasuka? have you got any money?
shinbun wa, teberu ni arimasu the newspaper is on the table
aru - is, existsPositiveNegative
Present Plainarunai
Politearimasuarimasen
Past Plainattanakatta
Politearimashitaarimasen deshita
Probable Plainaru darōnai darō
Politearu deshōnai deshō

iru いる

iru means is or exists for the location of people or animals

neko wa doko ni imasuka? where is the cat?
kino wa London ni imashitaka? Were you in London yesterday?
iru - is, existsPositiveNegative
Present Plainiruinai
Politeimasuimasen
Past Plainittainakatta
Politeimashitaimasen deshita
Probable Plainiru darōinai darō
Politeiru deshōinai deshō
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