Today’s main grammar point is である. Now, I’ve recently started studying again and have seen this come up several times.

The answer is that である is basically the same as です. It is often used in formal writing, e.g. in a thesis or book.

である can be used in the middle of a sentence in a conjunction like で from です. For example, combining with yesterday’s point (I think),


In another example, である comes near the beginning of a sentence:


Here, である joins 社会人 with 以上(いじょう) to describe the responsibilities of being a good member of society. So, the meaning of this is something like ‘As a good member of society…’ or more simply, ‘Because one is a good member of society…’ In essense, ‘because’.

Note that in the previous example です can not be used.

This brings us to today’s second grammar point of note: 以上 (3) can be used to mean ‘As long as,’ ‘Since A, then B is also true,’ or perhaps, ‘not just A, but B’ – at least these are possible meanings I’ve become to understand from reading examples. Try to translate the following sentence: