I'm currently studying Japanese grammar and there's this sentence:


By default the translation given is:

I’m in front of the station, can you come here to meet me?

But couldn't it also be translated as:

[since] You are in front of the station, can you come to meet me?

The reason I'm confused is because there is no subject and no context to infer the subject from. This is pretty normal occurrence in Japanese from what I understand, but is there something else in the sentence that could make either of these two translation a "preferred one" or am I being completely wrong here?

  • 4
    Where did you see the first "default" translation? I would say neither of these English translations are correct.
    – naruto
    Mar 15 '17 at 11:33
  • It's from japanesetest4you.com, the site has quite some mistakes in its materials, but it really works for me to study grammar, so I quite like it.
    – Kul
    Mar 16 '17 at 4:16


As you said, the subjects are omitted, but there are several clues. Let's say A is talking to B.

  • A assumes B is currently not in front of the station, otherwise he wouldn't ask him/her to go there.
  • 駅の前にいるから implies that someone is in front of the station.
  • If A were at the station, he would have said 迎えに来てくれる?
  • Since neither A or B are in front of the station, it has to be a third person C.

We get

[A talking to B]. C is in front of the station. Could you pick him/her up?

Who A, B, C are would have to be determined from context. However, C is different from A and B, so there are three people involved.

In particular, neither of your translations is consistent with these clues.

  • 1
    I think 駅の前にいるなら、迎えに行ってくれる? would be natural in the situation 2. Mar 15 '17 at 12:54
  • @YuuichiTam Good point. I only included this later. I guess this could really only be a natural choice of words if B didn't know he/she was in front of the station, but A knows it (via GPS tracking, say). I guess this is too far-fetched to be useful. I rolled back to my original answer.
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 15 '17 at 13:09
  • Thank you guys for the detailed explanations. It really helps!
    – Kul
    Mar 16 '17 at 4:17

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