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The phrase "doko kara kimasu" is translated as "where do you come from" . I suppose this a short version of "anata wa doko kara kimasu ka" . If I want to ask where does he come from? I suppose I should say "kare wa doko kara kimasu ka" . Can in this sentence the pronoun also be omitted if the context makes the "kare" understandable (let's suppose it was already stated in a conversation we were talking about him), or only anata can be omitted? In which cases pronouns can be omitted in questions?

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In which cases pronouns can be omitted in questions?
1. doko kara kimasu. どこから来{き}ます?
2. anata wa doko kara kimasu ka. あなたはどこから来{き}ますか?
3. kare wa doko kara kimasu ka. 彼{かれ}はどこから来{き}ますか?

I edited my former two answers totally and post them as a "Revised answer" written below.


Original answer 1

In case the pronoun is already known between/among those who are making a conversation, the pronoun is omitted almost all the cases. If not, everybody feels the question is tedious.


Original answer 2

As "where are you from?" could be exist in daily conversation but "Where do you come from?" could not, so "anata wa doko kara kimasu ka" could not exist but "anata wa doko no shusshin desukaha" could.

When the pronoun is known actually, possible expressions are like; - どこから来たの? "doko kara kitano?" - どこから来たのですか? "doko kara kita no desu ka?" - どこから来られましたか? "doko kara korare mashita ka? You should know that the sentences are all in past not in present tense, besides the pronouns are omitted.


Revised answer

In which cases pronouns can be omitted in questions?

When the pronoun is "you", the partner in the conversation, it is omitted in almost all the cases. If not, everybody feels your question is tedious.

As for the pronoun "kare 彼{かれ}" , when it is used in the context where he is understandable or you guys were talking about him in the conversation, the noun of him also could be omitted.

But, you are better not to omit it in your question even in this context, because it may cause two possible undesirable situations like:

  • The partner may possibly be misled into thinking that you changed the topic of the conversation abruptly.

  • The partner may be confused without knowing that about whom you are asking the partner by the question.

1 doko kara kimasu. どこから来{き}ます?

3 kare wa doko kara kimasu ka. 彼{かれ}はどこから来{き}ますか?

Yes, the sentence 1 is the short version of 3. Whereas, let's think about the sentence 3 where 彼{かれ} kare is not omitted in order to avoid the possible unclearness.

Except for the meaning of "where is he from?", the sentence 3 could have various situational interpretations like:   

Case 1: You want to know his intended place of departure to come here.

  • Case 1.1 You know the partner knows the answer.

  • Case 1.2 You don't know if the partner knows the answer.

  • Case 1.3 Both you and the partner are interested in the answer.

Case 2: You want to know the route he will take to come here.

  • Case 2.1 You know the partner knows the answer.

  • Case 2.2 You don't know if the partner knows the answer.

  • Case 2.3 Both you and the partner are interested in the answer.

Besides the various cases, each case has various ways of expression depending on the degree of politeness.

To avoid showing too many expressions meaning the sentence 3, I'll show you a few typical expressions for each case: in polite (P), normal (N), friendly (F) and rude (R) form. I recommend you should not use them in a rude form.

  1. kare wa doko kara kimasu ka. 彼{かれ}はどこから来{き}ますか?

Case 1. Asking the place of departure:

Case 1.1 You know the partner knows the answer of the place.
P: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{こ}られますか?
N: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{き}ますか?
F: 彼{かれ}、どこから来{く}るの?
R: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{く}るか?

Case 1.2 You don't know if the partner knows the answer of the place.
P: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{こ}られると思{おも}います(か)?
N: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{く}ると思{おも}いますか?
F: 彼{かれ}、どこから来{く}ると思{おも}う?
R: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{く}ると思{おも}うか?

Case 1.3 Both you and the partner are interested in the answer of the place.
P: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{こ}られるのでしょうか?
N: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{く}るのでしょうか?
F: 彼{かれ}、どこから来{く}るかな?
R: 彼{かれ}はどこから来{く}るか?

Case 2. Asking the route

Case 2.1 You know the partner knows the answer of the route.
P: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{こ}られるのですか?
 彼{かれ}はどちらから来{こ}られるのですか?
N: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{く}るのですか?
 彼{かれ}はどちらから来{く}るのですか?
F: 彼{かれ}、どこを通{とお}って来{く}るの?
 彼{かれ}、どっちから来{く}るの?
R: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{く}るか?
 彼{かれ}はどっちから来{く}るか?

Case 2.2 You don't know if the partner knows the answer of the route.
P: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{こ}られると思{おも}います(か)?
 彼{かれ}はどちらから来{こ}られると思{おも}います(か)?
N: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{く}ると思{おも}いますか?
 彼{かれ}はどちらから来{く}ると思{おも}いますか?
F: 彼{かれ}、どこを通{とお}って来{く}ると思{おも}う?
 彼{かれ}、どっちから来{く}ると思{おも}う?
R: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{く}ると思{おも}うか?
 彼{かれ}はどっちから来{く}ると思{おも}うか?

Case 2.3 Both you and the partner are interested in the answer of the route.

P: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{こ}られるのでしょうか/ね?
 彼{かれ}はどちらから来{こ}られるのでしょうか/ね?
N: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{く}るのでしょうか/ね?
 彼{かれ}はどちらから来{く}るのでしょうか/ね?
F: 彼{かれ}、どこを通{とお}って来{く}るかな/かね?
 彼{かれ}、どっちから来{く}るかな/かね?
R: 彼{かれ}はどこを通{とお}って来{く}るか?
 彼{かれ}はどっちから来{く}るか?

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    why always in past? any particular reason? is it only with doko kara they are in past or with other questions too? Why "where do you come from?" cant not exist in daily conversation? isnt it the opposite, that where are you from? cant exist in daily conversation? – Pablo Apr 9 '17 at 2:12
  • Visit the URL below. It'll shows you the answer. ell.stackexchange.com/questions/29957/… – mackygoo Apr 9 '17 at 2:28
  • but where are you from you dont use it in daily conversation unless the person you are talking is someone you dont know, because it refers to which country/state/nation he is from . For example, you wouldnt ask to a friend or someone you know where is he from because you already know – Pablo Apr 9 '17 at 2:33
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    I think Pablo is not asking about how to ask one's birthplace. He is talking about sentences like "(明日、正面玄関と裏門と夜間入り口の)どこから来ますか?" Of course it's totally fine to use the present tense or the volitional form in such a case. – naruto Apr 9 '17 at 3:08
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In case the pronoun is already known between/among those who are making a conversation, the pronoun is omitted almost all the cases. If not, everybody feels the question is tedious.

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