2

Someone asked me the question

Können wir uns heute treffen?

Why did they use wir and uns together? Is "Können wir heute treffen?" still ok?

3

You use both because "to meet" translates to "sich treffen" ("to meet oneself") instead of just "treffen", which means "to hit (a target)". Literally translated "Können wir uns heute treffen?" translates to "Can we meet ourselves today?" and that's the way it's said in German. In context, "Können wir heute treffen?" would probably be understood, but it doesn't sound right.

  • 1
    I'd rather think it's "to meet each other" as opposed to "to meet oneself". – Em1 Nov 1 '16 at 21:02
  • @Em1 Yeah, you're right. I was trying to translate the word "sich" literally to make sense of how it's used in the sentence as a literal "ourselves", to clarify why it's necessary to not leave out the "uns" in OP's sentence. I realize my answer isn't perfect but I thought it would help understand the concept. – Kodama Nov 1 '16 at 22:13
  • Not "ourselves" but "each other". – fdb Nov 1 '16 at 23:43
  • @fdb Yes, I know. However, I can't delete an accepted answer. I tried to translate it as a literal "ourselves" (although I know it would mean "each other" in English) to show a reason why the "uns" cannot be left out. As in, you can't just use "meet" alone like you can in English ("can we meet?"), because even in first person plural it's used with the added "us" as in the other cases ("can you meet" wouldn't work alone either because it misses the "us"). Thinking more about it, it's not very precise, so everyone can write up a better answer if they feel like it. – Kodama Nov 1 '16 at 23:56
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    You can still edit it, and clarify that it means "each other" while its literal translation is kinda "oneself". – Em1 Nov 2 '16 at 7:06
4

Uns replaces einander, which isn't common any more at that place.

Können wir einander heute treffen? (dated/very highbrow)

Können wir uns heute treffen? (common use, both in speech and writing)

It has to be sich/einander treffen for the meaning to meet. Treffen alone means to strike or to hit.

Wirst du heute treffen?

Will you strike today?

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