I'm using Japanese From Zero 1, though I've already memorized both symbol libraries and a hand full of Kanji.

I'm at section 3, Q & A E -> J, Group 4.

My issue is that I'm still a beginner and I think it's giving me the wrong translation.

It wants me to translate the English statement;

No, it's my friends car.

I translated this as;


But the book claims that the translation should be;


Which removes わたし. How can it mean My Friend and not just Friend, if I'm not in the sentence? Is it assumed or is it because the first sentence Asks,

Is this your car?

It seems like the topic is shifting from My car to My friends car, so shouldn't I change the topic?

Full Question;

Is this your car?

Yes, it is.

No, it's my friend's car.

No, it's her car.

No, it's her's.

Edits: Yes, it's くるま Kuruma ^-^, I was typing too fast.


2 Answers 2


As taikun said, in normal Japanese you never use a pronoun if it is obvious for the listener.

This is especially true for first person pronouns (私{わたし}、俺{おれ}、僕{ぼく}、etc.), because using it too much would be perceived by your listener as if you're trying to grab the attention (even if you're a gaijin this would be bad for your 謙虚{けんきょ}). So your lesson is very correct in the way that a Japanese person would not have answered by 私{わたし}の友達{ともだち} in this context.

For further reading on the topic I suggest this article from Japanese Ammo

  • 1
    It doesn't have something to do with modesty if you use the first pronoun or not. The problem is that it can change nuance. For example, adding 私の to 日本語はまだまだです implies that problematic one is not other's but mine. Among pronouns, I've never used あなた, 彼 or 彼女 in everyday conversation but 私, おれ or おまえ. The first pronoun is the most frequent one.
    – user4092
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 1:11
  • Yes obviously you need to add pronoun if there would be ambiguity, but had your sentence above been to answer a question about your Japanese skill you could have omitted the pronoun. My point was that if you're adding the first person pronoun when it's not needed it's grammatically correct but the feeling for your listener is that you're speaking like and egotistical person.
    – Samuel
    Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 20:53
  • People often add 私は when they want to explicit that something is applicable only to the speaker. Otherwise, it would just sound foreign or a bit off, before sounding egoistic or so.
    – user4092
    Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 3:41

It's obvious from the context, so the pronoun is omitted.

  • 1
    Yeah, if you're gonna learn Japanese, get used to a lot of things being omitted.
    – istrasci
    Commented Oct 27, 2017 at 15:27

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