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いま どこ に いるの

I found this sentence online while I was trying to better understand the verbs ある and いる and apparently its translates to "Where are you now"

I know what most of the sentence is but I guess I'm having a hard time understanding exactly as to how ある and いる translate and then I found の at the end of いる and I have no idea what this の could mean. I understand they usually mean "to have" or "there is" and I'm not sure why but when I see them they always confuse me.

ex. たべたい ひと が いる

This is the title of a song I found and I want to say it translates as

There is a person/There are people I want to eat

But I'm not really sure、 and I don't really know why I'm so unsure since the concept behind ある and いる does seem simple.

apologies if this question as a whole doesn't make much sense

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    So what is your question exactly? – istrasci Jun 23 '15 at 23:17
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1. Difference between ある and いる

Both ある and いる translate to "exist". The main difference is that ある is used for inanimate objects and いる is used for alive/animate things.

So if you want to say "there is a cat", you would say "ねこ が いる". But if you wanted to say "there is a chair", you would say "いす が ある".

2. The sentence you mentioned: いま どこ に いるの

2.1. To understand this, let's first analyse the phrase without the の in the end

いま どこ に いる

The translation you pointed out, "Where are you now?", is correct. Why?

  • いま means now
  • どこ means where
  • いる means to exist;
  • に is a particle that, when used alongside いる, means the location of the object.

Therefore, this sentence would translate roughly to "Now where do [you] exist?". Note that the "you" is guessed. It could very well be "we", or "him", and such.

That rough translation is the same as "Where are you now?" in better english.

Learn more about the に particle here

2.2. Understanding the の in the end

Don't worry if you get confused with the の particle. It has various meanings, so you have to detect what is its role in each situation. Sometimes it will mean possession, like in "Bob の ほん" (Bob's book). In the end of sentences, though, it will in general consist of the explanatory の particle. It justs add an explanatory tone to the sentence. The sentence you mentioned is a question, so the の particle in the end emphasizes that the questioner is looking for an explanation.

Learn more about the explanatory の particle here

3. たべたい ひと が いる

You are correct to guess the translation: There is a person/There are people I want to eat.

EDIT: At a first glance this can be translated as There is a person/There are people I want to eat, but clearly this is a bit unusual, although still possible, if this is a fictional setting, and the 'thing' speaking is a monster, for example. But this could also be translated as There is a person/There are people who want(s) to eat.

(Thanks @Yosh for bringing this up)

4. Last words

Both links I suggested above are from the same guide, called Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese. I totally recommend it, it is free, this is the link.

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    I would interpret 食べたい人がいる as "there's a person / there are people who want(s) to eat" assuming some context to follow, as wanting to eat people is quite irregular. 会いたい人がいる surely translates to "there's a person (or plural) I want to meet". – Yosh Jun 24 '15 at 2:14
  • Why the downvote? – Pedro A Jul 26 '17 at 16:39
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The at the end of the sentence makes the sentence sounds more natural, it doesn't really have a meaning by itself.

You could, as well, use instead to make it clear that the sentence is a question, either replacing with or using のか

So the question いま どこ に いるの means where are we now?

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