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  5. "あなたの前にいます。"


Translation:I am in front of you.

June 11, 2017



Why is this not "You are in front?"


の前 affects the noun before it. In this case it's あなた. So あなた is what is in front of something or someone else. The pronoun 'I' is implicit and we assume it is me who is in front of that person. So that means "I'm in front of you".


あなた is a noun, it mean's "you" it is before の前.

あなた[you]の[posses]前[in front]にいます[exist].

You said yourself that あなた is what is in front.


Think of it this way:

あなたの= your

わたしの= my

かれの= his

A の= A's

Basically the の tells you who it belongs to. If it makes sense?


I understand the possessive particle の.

Just a really weird that "Your front I exist" seems the direct translation of あなたの[your]前[front]にいます[exist].

And I understand that the subject is often left out (私/僕).

But when I first read it I thought it said "You own the front."

The "にいます" is more what I need to focus on because that is implying something exists in their{あなたの[your]} front, and that something has to be the subject that is left out.

  • 1529

Yeah, that's the idea. I'd say a more accurate literal translation would be "At your front (I) exist". Remember, います is exist and に is pointing out location. I'd break your formula down this way to further distinguish the role of に:

あなたの[your]前に[in front]います[subject exists]

I think it may be more natural to pair に with 前 than with います to illustrate this.


Well; it's not that different than in English, where the formula is "in front of you", and "of" also usually indicates posession.

Actually, in this case, if you reverse the order of the words and translate the sentence word by word you get the exact translation in this case: (I) "am" (=exist) "in" "front/before" "of" "you". (although if the subject was not omitted this order inversion would not work for it)


So the sentence is basically saying "i am in your front"?


Yeah. Or using the possessive in a more conventional way, "I am in front of you"

  • 1529

I think you are looking at this the wrong way.

あなたの前 describes whose front it is. The front of the object of the sentence, あなた. あなた "possesses" 前. It's more that の is attributive, rather than simply indicating possession. You will see many instances where の is translated as "of", which may help to understand it better. Here, it's literally "the (space) in front of/before you". The subject is of course, implied, but we know that someone is occupying that space.

の has several uses. Beginners are usually just told that it indicates possession. Even when it comes to an attribute, it can still make sense that it is possessed, but more generally speaking, it's making a link between the nouns. Often, treating it solely as possession does not translate well.

In an AのB construct, A essentially modifies B. However due to the difference in how the languages work, the word order may not always be consistent in English.

"You are in front" would need to mark あなた as the subject.



Thank you so much this is the best explanation I've had of this type of situation, I think I'm finally starting to get it! : )

And thanks for the tip on the の particle. For me, particles are とても 面倒くさい so every bit helps : )


but wouldn't that mean that あなた is in front of you?


For Spanish speakers. Una buena forma para evitar confusión sobre quién está frente a quién (o detrás) en estas oraciones es pensarlo de forma similar al español: «delante mío», «delante tuyo», «detrás mío», «detrás tuyo», etc. Aunque estas construcciones no son formalmente aceptadas en el español, en este caso sirven bien para comprender la lógica de estas estructuras gramaticales en japonés, ya que adquiere sentido la partícula de posesión の.

あなたの前 → delante tuyo

あなたの後ろ → detrás tuyo

母の前 → delante de mamá

父の後ろ → detrás de papá


Este fue el modo en el que logré escapar de la confusión en esto. Espero que sea de ayuda para alguien más ✌️


De hecho, la forma normal de decirlo también es válida para esta comparación: "delante de mí". "De" indica posesión, así que se puede sustituir por の si invertimos el sintagma y lo traducimos palabra a palabra, y tendrá sentido


You need to bear in mind that the English verb, 'to be' covers three meanings which in Japanese, each have their own verb.

です means "to be" in the sense of an equals sign: I = John I am John. ジョンです。 Book = blue 本は青い(aoi)です。

います imasu means "to be" in the sense of to exist or be located for animate things: ぎんこうにいます ginko ni imasu. I am in the bank. いもうとがいます imouto ga imasu I have a (little) sister. (I taught my students to take the letter i at the start of the romaji and make it into a little stick man.)

あります means the same as imasu, but for inanimate objects: ほんがあります There is a book. (Told my students to take the a at the start of arimasu and transform it into an apple with a stalk.)


Guys, how is this kanji pronounced properly? "Mae"?


Yes, it's pronounced まえ when it is a word on its own.


'Mah' + very short 'ee' (as in eek) + the slightest intonation of 'eh' right at the end. Very defined illustration here, saying 'mai' will suffice until you get more advanced


名前 = なまえ = namae お前 = おまえ = omae お前はもう死んでいる = omae wa mou shindeiru


tsing •̀.̫•́✧


Look at like this (私は the unspoken subject "I") + あなたの前に (in front of you) + います(I am, or to be. Applies to the subject)


Yes, this is how I look at it as well. Whenever I am having trouble understanding the sentence, I put 私は (watashi wa) at the beginning, in my head.


Shouldn't this translate to simply "in front of you"? I got the answer wrong because I didn't include a subject. (In this case "I am in front of you")

  • 1529

That would be just あなたの前に. Subjects are often only implied in Japanese and are not needed for a grammatically correct sentence. It is often the speaker that is the subject, but one can not usually know without context. The presence of います however tells us that someone exists "in front of you". In the case of あなたの前に, it could be that the subject was mentioned earlier in the conversation, but it could just as easily be the title of a book.






I put "It is in front of you" and it was counted correct. So this can be saying different things depending on the context right?


when "います" (i-masu) is used, which is the verb 'to be/to exist,' it always refers to a living thing—a person, an animal, etc.

there is a version of the verb 'to be/to exist' for non living things, which is 'あります' (arimasu).

since, in this example, they used います, they're referring to a living subject, so using 'it' wouldn't be correct unless you meant an animal.


Not quite. Though not commonly used, "it" is just a non-gendered singular pronoun. It's usually applied to nonliving things and sometimes animals either because the speaker does not know the gender of the subject in question, or the subject in question does not actually have a gender. (Usually, humans can tell whether another human is male or female, and so use "he" or "she" as applies.) That "it" is only for non-humans, and its plural form of "they" is acceptable for describing a singular noun is a gross misconception based on "it" rarely to never being used to describe humans, rather than being based on actual grammatical rules of use.

All that to say that there is no rule in English that says that "it" cannot be used to describe a human.

Edit: However, it would probably cause confusion and be considered rude to call someone "it." Still, not grammatically incorrect.

  • 1529

No, not always. Plants are living, however they are not, generally, motile, so they take ある. A more accurate though still not foolproof rule is that something capable of movement of its own volition takes いる, otherwise ある. Robots? いる. Corpses? ある. Can it come if you call it?

Take the common case of a vehicle. A car is inanimate, however 「タクシーがいます」 is still correct. Why? Because in this case, it is occupied and in service. An empty vehicle would generally still take ある, but its state of readiness can cause it to still use いる, for example a car being refueled at a gas station or parked at the side of the road temporarily.


I was thinking of this, too. I'd actually posed this exact question a while back in its own topic, hahah! Yep; movement is the key.




I answered simply "in front of you" and I don't think I'm wrong here. Is it directly implied by this phrase somehow that I am the subject?


There's あります in the sentence, which fundamentally means "to exist".

In your English sentence the "to be there/to exist" is missing.


います, not あります.


I thought of it as 私はあなたの前にいます with the 私は being dropped out of politeness. Hope that makes sense. You can also compare it to あなたは私の前にいます (You are in front of me).


The way I thought of it was like this:

  • あなた (anata) - you
  • の前に (no-mae-ni) - in front of
  • います (i-masu) - I am

And with Japanese sentences, just reverse it = I am in front of you :-)

Hope that helps. I agree, the hints on hover don't help. Hopefully they fix it soon - they announced an updated tree might come by the beginning of February, let's see what happens :-)


Another sentence's page said that when describing where a verb is taking place you use で instead of に, e.g. 母と父の間で食べます (I eat between my mother and father).

It definitely makes sense intuitively to me that the verb います would still use に, but is there a good rule for remembering or figuring out which verbs require [location]で[verb] vs [location]に[verb] ? E.g. actionless verbs? Or am I asking the wrong question here?


Bender Rodriguez: "しまった, 彼女は後ろにいますか?"
Morgan Proctor: "いいえ, あなたの前にいます"

That's one for the Futurama fans out there


The literal translation: Your front exists


sentences indicating the location of something are always written in this format: [THING] は [LANDMARK] の [LOCATION WORD] に います.

the particle に shows that what comes before is the PLACE that whatever action (indicated by the verb at the end) the subject (which is indicated by は) is doing occurs in.

in sentences like this, when you're referring to yourself as the subject, it becomes almost implied so it gets omitted. so rather than 私はあなたの前にいます, it becomes あなたの前にいます。therefore it more translates literally to "as for me, i exist at your front."

the translation you said would probably more apply to あなたの前 は (not に) います.


I get that this is "I am in front of you" becuase of the "no" particle, but how would you say you are in front of me?


Because the given sentence has no topic, it is assumed to refer to "me", so it could be read as: (私は) あなたの 前に います。 (with no change in meaning)

If you then just switch "you" and "me" in the sentence, you get what you're asking for: あなたは 私の 前に います。


thank you :D But could you omit "watashi" in the second sentence?


You would have to omit "watashi no", not just watashi, and I think the sentence would mean something different in that case. (Just 'you are in front', I think.)


thanks again :DD


(Watashi wa) anata no mae ni imasu --> (As for me), your front I am located


Can I use です instead of います here?


I don't know for sure if it would be the same in Japanese, but translating it to Spanish, "Soy delante de ti" instead of "Estoy delante de ti" can sound like a very poetic way of expressing that being in front of "you" is an inherent characteristic of the speaker (so "I" would always be in front of "you"), or that the speaker only exists when in front of "you" (in an "I am only my real self when I'm in front of you" way).

I know it sounds a little complicated. If it's not really understandable, I can try to make a better explanation


See Helene's comment nearby. The verb "to be" in english has three different meanings, apparently; to equal, to exist as an entity, and to exist as a non-entity. Desu is the former, more like "I am your front," which is unlikely to ever be meaningful. Desu is to equal, imasu is to exist as a person, and alimasu is to exist as an object. She explains it better. :)


why not "It is in front of you" ?


For Chinese speakers: “の” 基本是 “的”。你前[面], あなたの前


I read all the comments, and I seem to be the only one who ears "tanata no mae ni imasu".


Thanks this has been helpful in leading my blind Japanese friend around


Would "前にいます" be sufficient, too? Does it provide enough context to derive me in front of you from it?


Can it not also read "it is before you?:


Verb imasu is used for living things. So no. It can only be I or HE or SHE is in front of you. The most probable however stupid it sounds is 'I am in fron of you'


I am before you doesnt work either?


Could work but gramatically it's quite unusual


It would be quite commonly used here in Ireland in a queue situation where this had become a little disorganised and you wanted to confirm that you were "before" or "in front of" someone else in the queue ....


Technically, it should be accepted since "before" can refer to a spatial relationship, but it is definitely not the preferred phrasing.


Why is the "I" assumed in this case? It could be talking about anything or anyone.


"I" is always the implied subject when you're making a statement about a person. Likewise, if you make a statement about a thing, the implied subject is "it", and if you ask a question about a person, the implied subject is "you". I love this feature of Japanese. It takes a little getting used to, but it is very efficient. We sometimes do something similar in collquial speech in English (e.g. "Going to the shops." versus "Going to the shops?") but it's usually not considered proper grammer in writing.


The object is not stated, the phrase itself means "Right in front of you", it could be an object or a person etc. Fix this...

  • 1529

Welcome to Japanese, where we habitually omit things. It's probably going to be a person speaking, so "I am in front of you" is a fine and correct translation. It could be someone answering a question about where something is. It could be the title of a book. "I" could instead be anything, but that doesn't really matter in this exercise.

The phrase itself is just "In front of you".

"Right in front of you" isn't really the same; it indicates an immediacy or near proximity, and emphasizes it. For that effect in Japanese you would say something like:

真ん前【まんまえ】Right in front.
真っ直ぐ前【まっすぐまえ】Straight ahead/in front.
真正面【ましょうめん】Directly in front.

Something that is right in front is also in front, but it can be in front without being right in front.


Why is it not "You are behind me"

  • 1529

How is it that you've come to such a translation? While it could technically be a truth because of the relative positions, it is not what the scentence actually says.

  • First, "behind", 後ろ, is nowhere to be found in the scentence.
  • Second, あなた is not the subject. Please read my above comments where the grammar & structure has been broken down.

"You are behind me." would be 「あなたは私の後ろにいます。」 Or to keep the same structure, drop the subject: 「私の後ろにいます。」


Additonally to above, if I am facing you and you are facing me, then I am in front of you but niether of us is behind the other.

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