Lv 4
takkk asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 2 months ago

Native English speakers: How do you interpret the meaning of "Now stopping at Ebisu"?

On the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo, Japan, the next three signs are displayed on the cars' screams. 

When the training leaves the station, the scream says, "Next Ebisu."

When the train is about to stop at Ebisu, it says, "Now arriving at Ebisu."

And while the train is at Ebisu, the scream says, "Now stopping at Ebisu."

I found "Now stopping at Ebisu" strange as it means the train is about to stop at Ebisu. Can the expression also mean that the train is at Ebisu for the time being?

Thank you. I'd appreciate your feedback. 

3 Answers

  • Mike W
    Lv 7
    2 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Never thought about it that much.  "Now stopping at Ebisu" can mean that the train is about to stop at that station, or that the train, which previously didn't stop there has now included it as one of its stops.  Anyway, to me it meant that it was time to leave the train, and  get to the subway that was headed to Roppongi.  

  • Ben
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    I imagine it's because a Japanese person wrote the English text for those screens.

    The progressive tense works a little differently in Japanese than it does in English, and so little mistakes like there are common. When many intransitive verbs are put into the progressive tense in Japanese, rather than indication an ongoing action, it indicates an action which has been completed, and the result of the action is now in a continuous ongoing state. In other words, the train is in a state of being stopped. 

    So a Japanese person whose knowledge of English is not perfect may not realise that the progressive tense works doesn't work like that in English, hence this mistake. 

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago


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