How to use もう & まだ ( = mou & mada)

moumadafinal

「あの~…もう1時間も待っているんですが…昼ご飯はまだですか?

もう12時ですよ。」

= Anoo…Mou ichijikan mo matte irundesuga… hirugohan wa mada desu ka?
Mou juuniji desu yo.

= Excuse me…. I’ve been waiting for one hour already. Isn’t my lunch ready yet?
It’s already 12 o’clock you know.

Hi everyone!

Hi, I am Minky. I am back again! また来ましたよ= Mata kimashita yo.

Today’s lesson is about もう ( = mou ) &  まだ ( = mada).

もう ( = mou) means “already / anymore” and まだ ( = mada) means “not yet / still”

For example you just saw your watch and checked the time.

If you think it is late and time has passed without realizing it, you can say:

A: もうこんな時間だ。

= Mou konna jikan da.

= Look at the time! (It’s already this late.)

and if you think it is still early, you say

B : まだこんな時間だ。

= Mada konna jikan da.

= It is still early.

The famous the glass is half empty or full quote will be,

C: もう半分ない。

= Mou hanbun nai.

= Half is already gone.

(→The glass is half empty)

D: まだ半分ある。

= Mada hanbun aru.

= Half is still left.

(→The glass is still half full)

in Japanese.

You both use them in negative and affirmative sentences.
Let me explain.

もう ( = mou)

1) already: with affirmative sentences

Ex. もう宿題やったの?」

= Mou shukudai yatta no?

= Did you already do your homework?

「うん、もうやった。」

= Un, mou yatta.

= Yes, I did it already.

Ex. 今日は、6時にはもう電車に乗っていた。

= Kyou wa, rokuji niwa mou densha ni notte ita.

= I was already on the train at six today.

Ex. 4歳になった時にはもうひらがなが全部書けた。

= Yonsai ni natta toki niwa mou hiragana ga zenbu kaketa.

= I could already write all the hiragana by the time I had turned four years old.

Ex. もういい大人なんだから自分のことは自分で考えなさい。

= Mou ii otona nan dakara jibun no koto wa jibun de kangaenasai.

= You are old enough to think for yourself.

Ex. もう7月なの? 時間が過ぎるの早いね。(casual)

= Mou shichigatsu nano? Jikan ga sugiru no hayai ne.

= It’s already July? Time flies!

Ex. もういい加減にしてよ!(female)

= Mou iikagen ni shite yo!

*もういい加減にしろよ!(male/rough)

= Mou iikagen ni shiro yo!

= Enough already!

Ex.もう半袖の季節なんだ。

= Mou hansode no kisetsu nanda.

= It’s already the season of half sleeves.

2) anymore/not again: with negative sentences

Ex. もう彼には会わない。

= Mou kare niwa awanai.

= I won’t see him again.

Ex. もうそんなことは言いません。

= Mou souna koto wa iimasen.

= I won’t say such a thing again.

Ex.もう二度とやりません。

= Mou nidoto yarimasen.

= I won’t do that ever again.

Ex. もうこの暑さには、耐えられない。

= Mou kono atsusa niwa, taerarenai.

= I can’t stand this heat anymore.

まだ ( = mada) not yet, still

1) still: with affirmative sentences

Looking at old pictures.

Ex. この頃はまだ痩せていたなあ。

= Konokoro wa mada yasete ita naa.

= I was still slim then.

Ex. まだそこにいたの?

= Mada soko ni itano?

= Are you still there?

Ex. うちの子はまだ3歳です。

= Uchino ko wa mada sansai desu.

= My child is still 3 years old.

Ex. マギー先生、まだ「もう」と「まだ」の違いがわかりません。

= Maggie sensei, mada “mou” to “mada” no chigai ga wakarimasen.

= Maggie Sensei, I still don’t know the difference between “mou” and “mada”.

Ex. まだ昨日のこと、怒っているの?

=  Mada kinou no koto, okotte iruno?

= Are you still mad about yesterday?

*まだまだ ( = madamada) When you emphasize the meaning, you repeat まだ (=mada)

Ex. 母は自分のことをまだまだ若いと思っている。

= Haha wa jibun no koto wo madamada wakai to omotte iru.

= My mother thinks she is still pretty young.

Ex. まだまだこの世の中にはわからないことがいっぱいある。

= Madamada kono yo no naka niwa wakaranai koto ga ippai aru.

= There are still so many things in this world that we don’t know.

Ex. 娘が小学校を卒業するのはまだまだ先のことだと思っていた。

= Musume ga shougakkou wo sotsugyou suru no wa madamada saki no koto dato omotte ita.

= I thought my daughter’s elementary school graduation was still a long way away.

Ex. 「日本語お上手ですね。」

= Nihongo ojouzu desu ne.

= Your Japanese is really good.

「いえ、まだまだです。」

= Ie, madamada desu.

= It’s not quite there yet/ It is still long way to go.

2) not yet: with negative sentences

Ex. まだ4級に受かっていない。

=  Mada yonnkyuu ni ukatte inai.

I haven’t passed the level 4 yet.

Ex. まだ日本に行ったことがない。

= Mada nihon ni itta koto ga nai.

= I haven’t been to Japan yet.

Ex.まだトロを食べたことがありません。

= Mada “toro“ wo tabeta koto ga arimasen.

= I haven’t had “toro (fatty tuna) yet.

Ex. まだ起こっていないことを心配しても無駄だ。

= Mada okotte inai koto wo shinpai shite mo muda da.

= It is a waste to worry about something which hasn’t happened yet.

maggierainbow125マギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Minky先生、ありがとう!

= Minky Sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Minky sensei!

みんな、「もうまだ」の使い方はもうわかりましたか?

= Minna, “mou & mada” no tsukaikata wa mou wakarimashita ka?

= Do you know how to use “mou & mada” now?

それとももう知っていましたか?

= Soretomo mou shitte imashitaka?

= Or did you already know how to use it?

***

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20 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this site Maggie Sensei. You’re the best! I hope I’m not too late to ask a small question related to this lesson. You say that the meaning of もう changes depending on whether the sentence is affirmative or negative right? I was wondering, what about when you use もう with certain “negative-like” affirmative verbs . I mean verbs like やめる, 諦める, ほうっておく. Those verbs usually mean that the subject is stopping or not doing an action or something, right? So how should I understand a line like “私はそれをもうやめる”? Does it mean “I’m going to stop doing that already”, or “I’m going not going to do that anymore”?

    Sorry if that’s a stupid question, but I wonder how a naive speaker like you understands it.

    1. @OHMaster

      Hello OHMaster,
      Great question! やめる can be “stop doing something” or “will not do something what you have been doing” so the translation could be both.
      私はそれをもうやめる”= “I am going to stop doing that now.” and also “I am not going to do that anymore.”

      私はもう諦めます= I will give up now. / (It has a connotation of “I will not do that anymore.”)
      私は彼をもうほうっておきます。= I will leave him now. / I won’t take care of him anymore or I will not worry about him anymore.

  2. Hello, Maggie & Yukari sensei! Thanks for making another really interesting Lesson. I have a question on もう: It seems like it always appears at the beginnig of a sentence (eg. もうこの暑さには、耐えられない) but is it possible (especially in casual speech) that it appears halfway through the sentence to emphasize the second half of the sentence? eg. この暑さ、もう耐えられないわ

    Thanks as always for your help!

    1. @Jane

      Hi Jane,
      Yes, you can put もう in the middle of the sentence, この暑さ、もう耐えられないわ
      もう、これ以上食べられない
      これ以上、もう食べられない
      もう、マギーにはおやつをあげません。
      マギーにはもうおやつをあげません。

  3. Hello Maggie! I’m commenting here because I dont know where also to contact you but I’m starting a blog with Japanese lessons in Portuguese and I want to know if I can translate to Portuguese some of your lessons, it would be great. Of course all the credits is gonna be given to your site. よろしくお願いします !JYANE!

    1. @Marcelle

      Maggie Sensei’s site has been translated, French, Spanish, Turkish, German, Russian and Polish.
      If it is just a couple of lessons and add the link to the original lesson, I think why not. :)
      You can post a link to the original lesson using the comment section. People who speak Portuguese will love to read the translation. :)

  4. Hai 先生, how can I make a past sentence with an adjective being a noun modifier? is this a correct sentence?

    これ は 静かな まち でした。
    This was a quiet town.

    1. @Ary Anandaputra

      Yes, you can say これは静かなまちでした。
      It was / They were ajective + noun + でした・だった
      negative form: ではなかった・じゃなかった・ではなかったです・ではありませんでした。

  5. maggie i need help with my 聞き取り. i have been using tv and youtube to train my listening comprehension since when i started studying japanese(its been almost 1 year) and its still bad. some japanese speak too fast. do you kwow any good website to help with it?

  6. Hey Maggie! I just found about your website! Its impressing how you’ve doing this for such a long time! I hope you keep up the great work! I’m gonna follow every post from now on! :grin:

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