How to use 済む( = sumu), 済まない( = sumanai)

Kiki: 「わたしのおやつをとったらただではすみませんよ。」

= Watashi no oyatsu wo tottara tada de wa sumimasen yo.

= If you steal my snack, you are not going to get away with it.

Jiro: 「早くこのレッスンを済ませて遊ぼうよ!」

= Hayaku kono ressun wo sumasete asobou yo!

= Let’s finish up this lesson and play!

Hi everyone!

We are your guest teachers, Kiki and Jiro. We are going to help Maggie Sensei with her lesson today.

Today we are going to learn how to use the verb 済む = すむ ( = sumu)

* intransitive verb form:

済む = すむ = sumu

something finishes

* transitive verb form:

済ませる = すませる = sumaseru = transitive verb

済ます = すます = sumasu= transitive verb

to finish something

This verb has several usages.

Let’s look at them one by one. Ready?

1) finishing

(1) something finishes, ends:  ( = 終わる= owaru)

Basic pattern: with intransitive verb forms

something + * ( = ga) + 済む ( = sumu)/(past tense) 済んだ (= sunda)

* Note: You also use the particles,

( = wa) in a question or to show the contrast.

Ex. 試験が済んだ

= Shiken ga sunda.

= The exam is finished. 

Ex.

A: 「旅行の準備は済みましたか?」

= Ryokou no junbi wa sumimashita ka?

= Did you finish packing (for your travel)?

B:「いえ、まだ済んでいません。」

= ie, mada sunde imasen.

= No, I haven’t finished yet.

Ex. 仕事が済んだら飲みに行こうかな。

= Shigoto ga sundara nomini ni ikou kana.

= When I finish work, I’ll go out for a drink.

Ex. 父の手術が無事に済みました

= Chichi no shujutsu ga buji ni sumimashita.

= My father’s surgery finished without any problems. 

Ex. 済んだことは仕方がない。

= Sunda koto wa shikata ga nai.

= What’s done is done. (What’s done cannot be undone.)

Ex. 用が済んだら連絡するね。

= You ga sundara renraku surune.

= I will contact you when I’m done.

Ex. 会議は3時には済みそうだ。

= Kaigi wa sanji ni wa sumisou da.

= The meeting seems to be over at three.

At a restaurant:

ウエイター: 「こちらはお済みですか?」

= Weitaa: Kochira wa osumi desu ka?

= Waiter: Are you finished with this?

「お食事がお済みでしたらデザートをお持ちいたします。」

= Oshokuji ga osumi deshitara dezaato wo omochi itashimasu.

= When you finish your food, I will bring you dessert.

(2) to finish/complete/get something done 

Basic pattern: with transitive verb form

something (= wo)* + 済ませる( = sumaseru)/ 済ます( = sumasu)

(past tense)

something (= wo)* + 済ませた( = sumaseta)/ 済ました( = sumashita)

* Note: You also use the particles,

( = wa) to show the contrast

Ex. 早く、宿題を済ませて遊びに行きたい。

= Hayaku, shukudai wo sumasete asobi ni ikitai.

= I want to finish up my homework quickly and go out (with friends).

At a restaurant: 

Ex. 

A: 「おいしかった!私は、いくらかなあ。」

= Oishikatta! Watasgu wa, ikura kanaa.

= It was delicious. I wonder how much mine is? 

B:「もう、支払いは、済ませたから出ようよ。」

= I already finished paying. Let’s get out of here.

Ex. 夕ご飯を済ませたら電話するね。

= Yuugohan wo sumasetara denwa suru ne.

= I will call you when I finish my dinner.

Ex. 部屋の掃除が済まないうちに母に洗濯を頼まれた。

= Heya no souji ga sumanai uchi ni haha ni sentaku wo tanomareta.

( = Before I finish cleaning my room, I was asked to do the laundry by my mother.)

= Before I finish cleaning my room, my mother asked me to do the laundry.

Ex. A:

「ちょっと、トイレに行ってくるね。」

= Chotto, toire ni itte kuru ne.

= I’m going to the bathroom, OK?

「早く済ませてね。電車に乗り遅れちゃうから。」

= Hayaku sumasete ne. Densha ni noriokurechau kara.

= Make it snappy or we are going to miss the train. 

Ex. 今日は疲れているから夕食は簡単に済ませたい

= Kyou wa tsukarete iru kara yuushoku wa kantan ni sumasetai.

= I am tired today so I just want to make something simple for dinner (and get it done.)

2) solve one’s problem with something, by doing something

*with intransitive verb form:

Ex. これは謝れば済む問題ではない。

= Kore wa ayamareba sumu mondai dewa nai.

= You can’t solve this problem by just apologizing. 

Ex. ごめんで済めば警察はいらない。

= Gomen de sumeba keisatsu wa iranai.

= (Literal meaning) The police would not be necessary if this problem were solved by you just saying “I’m sorry”. 

= Your apology won’t do any good.

Ex. 彼はお金で済むと思っているがとんでもない。

= Kare wa okane de sumu to omotte iru ga tondemo nai.

= He believes that money will solve this but there is no way.

Ex. 彼女には何も言わないで。私ががまんすればすむことです。

= Kanojo ni wa nanimo iwanai de. Watashi ga gaman sureba sumu koto desu.

= Don’t tell her anything. All I need to do is to be patient.

* with transitive verb form:

Ex. これは笑って済ませられない

= Kore wa waratte sumasarenai.

= I can’t just laugh it off.

* with a noun:

Ex. 父の時計をなくしたら弁償では済まない。かなりの思い入れがあるようだ。

= Chichi no tokei wo nakushitara benshou dewa sumanai. Kanari no omoiire ga aru you da.

= If I lose my father’s watch, I can’t just pay for it. He seems to have sentimental attachment.

Ex. どれだけ彼が怒っていても、電話一本で済む問題です。

= Doredake kare ga okotte itemo, denwa ippon de sumu mondai desu.

= No matter how angry he is, this can be solved by just making one phone call.

3) noun + ( = de) + 済む ( = sumu) / (past tense) 済んだ ( = sunda):

Something turns out to be better or easier than one had expected

(negative form)

noun + ( = de)  + ( ( = wa))+ 済まない ( = sumanai) :

Something doesn’t/didn’t work out so easily/~ is not enough

(past tense) 済まなかった ( = sumanakatta):

Something didn’t work out so easily/ ~ was not enough

It was more than you have expected

Ex. インフルエンザにかかったが軽症で済んでよかった。

= Infuruenza ni kakatta ga keishou de sunde yokatta.

= I got the flu, but I’m glad that it wasn’t so serious. 

(the symptoms weren’t as bad as they could have been)

Ex.  

A: 「車の修理、1万円だった。」

= Kuruma no shuuri, ichiman-en datta.

= It cost me 10,000 yen to repair the car.

B:「それぐらいで済んでよかったね。」

= Soregurai de sunde yokatta ne.

= You‘re lucky. It turned out not being that expensive.

 (It could have been much more expensive)

Ex. 割引クーポンを持っていたので二千円で済んだ

= Waribiki kuupon wo motteita node nisen-en de sunda.

= Fortunately I had a discount coupon with me. I just needed to pay 2,000 yen.

Ex. ゴールデンウイークに旅行したら10万円ではとても済まないでしょうね。

= Gooruden uiiku ni ryokou shitara juuman-en dewa totemo sumanai deshou ne.

= If you go traveling during the Golden Week holidays, I guess it will cost much more than 100,000 yen. (100,000 yen is not enough)

 Ex. 彼女と買い物に行ったら1時間では済まない

= Kanojo to kaimono ni ittara ichijikan dewa sumanai.

= If you go shopping with her, it will take more than one hour. (one hour is not enough.)

Ex. A: 「美味しそうなケーキ!一つ買おうかなあ。」

= Oishisou na keeki! Hitotsu kaou kanaa.

= “These cakes look delicious! Should I buy one?”

B:「一つじゃ*済まないんじゃない?」

= Hitotsu ja sumanain janai?

= (You are not going to be satisfied with one piece of cake.)

= One piece of cake won’t be enough for you, right?

Note: じゃ ( = ja) is a casual way to say では ( = dewa)

Ex. このままで済むとは思わない。

= Konomama de sumu towa omowanai.

= I don’t think I can get away with this.

 

4) noun + なしで ( = nashi de) + 済む ( = sumu) / (past tense) 済んだ ( = sunda): things work out without something / without any problem

Ex. 今学期は遅刻なしで済んだ

= Kongakki wa chikoku nashi de sunda.

= I got by this term without being late.

Ex. 今日は暖かいのでストーブなしで済みそうだ。

= Kyou wa atatakai node sutoobu nashi de sumisou da.

= It’s warm today so maybe I don’t need to use a heater.

Ex. そんな大切なことを決めるのに家族との話し合いなしで済むわけがない。

= Sonna taisetsuna koto wo kimeru noni kazoku tono hanashiai nashi de sumu wake ga nai.

= In order to decide an important matter like that, you can’t get away without discussing it with your family.

5) noun + で  ( = de) + 済ませる ( = sumaseru)/ 済ます ( = sumasu):

manage to do things in a easier way/ to get by with something

/ to do with something/ to get away with something.

Ex. 明日は早いから今夜はお風呂にはいらずにシャワーで済ませよう

= Ashita wa hayai kara kon’ya wa ofuro ni hairazu ni shawaa de sumaseyou.

= I have to get up early tomorrow so tonight I’m not going to take a bath. I’ll just take a shower.

Ex. お昼はスープだけで済ませた

= Ohiru wa suupu dake de sumaseta.

= I just had some soup for lunch.

6)  noun + なしで ( = nashi de) + 済ませる ( = sumaseru)/ 済ます ( = sumasu): to get by without something

to dispense with something / not to use something that you usually use

Ex. 田舎の暮らしは車なしでは済ますことができない。

= Inaka no kurashi wa kuruma nashi dewa sumasu koto ga dekinai.

= You can’t live in the countryside without a car.

Ex. 旅行をスマホなしで済ませるなんて無理だ。

= Ryokou wo sumaho nashi de sumaseru nante muri da.

= It is impossible to travel without a smart phone.


Ex. 今日はトーストなしで朝ごはんを済ませた

= Kyou wa toosuto nashi de asagohan wo sumaseta.

= I had breakfast without toast today.

 

7) V/で済ます= (V te/de sumasu)/済ませる( = sumaseru):

to do/complete something by doing something

Ex. そんなことは知らないと言って済ますことはできない。

= Sonna koto wa shiranai to itte sumasu koto wa dekinai.

= You can’t get away with just saying I don’t know such a thing.

 Ex. バレンタインのチョコはスーパーで買って済ませたい

= Barentain no choko wa suupaa de katte sumasetai.

= I want to get my Valentine’s Day chocolate shopping over with at a supermarket..

8) * Vないで済ませる済ます  ( = V nai de sumaseru/sumasu) 

* Vずに済ませる済ます ( = V zu ni sumaseru/sumasu):

try to complete something without any trouble.

to get by without doing something.

Ex. 大学の勉強が忙しいけれども、なるべく仕事を休まないで済ませたい

= Daigaku no benkyou ga isogashii keredomo, narubeku shigoto wo yasumanai de sumasetai.

= Though I am busy studying at University, I want to get by without taking a day off from my work.

Ex. 確定申告を人の手をわずらわせずに済ますことができた。

= Kakutei shinkoku wo hito no te wo wazurawasezu ni sumasu koto ga dekita.

= I managed to finish my tax declaration without bothering other people.

Ex. 大きな家電の買い物は街中のお店に行かずにネットで済ませる

= Ookina kaden no kaimono wa machinaka no omise ni ikazu ni neto de sumaseru.

= I buy big home appliances on the Internet without going to the stores in town. 

9) No need to do something・to be able to avoid the trouble

* Vなくて済む ( = V naku te sumu)

* Vないで済む ( = V nai de sumu)  (more conversational)

* Vずに済む ( = V zu ni sumu) 

You use this form when you thought you have to do something (usually something hard or negative) but you don’t need to do so after all and you are relieved.

It is similar to  V(し)なくてもいい (= V(shi) nakutemo ii) = No need to do something

Ex. 帰りが遅くなったが幸いお母さんは寝ていたので怒られずに済んだ

= Kaeri ga osoku natta ga saiwai okaasan wa nete ita node okorarezu ni sunda.

= I got home late but luckily my mother was sleeping so I got by without being scolded.

Ex. お弁当を持ってきたから外で食べなくて済む

= Obentou wo motte kita kara soto de tabenakute sumu.

= I brought my lunch so I don’t need to go out for lunch.

Ex. コンビニで住民票が取れるからもう区役所に行かなくても済んだ

= Konbini de juuminhyou ga torero kara mou kuyakusho ni ikanakutemo sunda.

= Now that I can get the certificate of residence at a convenience store, I didn’t have to go to the ward office.

Note: You add ( = mo) to emphasize the meaning.

Ex. やっと試験に受かった!これでレポートを書かずに済む

= Yatto shiken ni ukatta! Kore de repooto wo kakazu ni sumu.

= I finally passed the exam. So I don’t need to write a report. 

Ex. 急いでおやつを食べたので弟にばれずに済んだ

= isoi de oyatsu wo tabeta no de otouto ni barezu ni sunda.

= I ate the snack quickly so I got away with it without my little brother noticing.

Ex. 余分なお金を払わなくて済んだ

= Yobunna okane wo harawanakute sunda.

= I got by without paying unnecessary money.

Ex. 彼女の気持ちを傷つけないで済むわけがない。

= Kanojo no kimochi wo kizutsukenai de sumu wake ga nai.

= There is no way that you can get away without hurting her feeling.

Ex. もう少しスピードを落としていたら罰金を取られずに済んだのに。

= Mousukoshi supiido wo otoshite itara bakkin wo torarezu ni sunda noni.

= If you had driven more slowly, you wouldn’t have been fined.

Ex. このアプリを使えば難しい計算をしないで済みます

= Kono apuri wo tsukaeba muzukashii keisan wo shinai de sumimasu.

= If you use this app, you don’t need to do complicated calculations.

10) Idiomatic expression

気が済む = きがすむ ( = ki ga sumu )  to feel better, to be satisfied.

You were not happy, feeling guilty, angry or unsatisfied but you feel better by doing something.

Ex. 息子は気が済むまで泣いたら疲れて寝てしまった。

= Musuko wa ki ga sumu made naitara tsukarete nete shimatta.

= After my son cried as much as he wanted, he got tired and fell asleep.

Ex. 彼に言いたいことを言って気が済んだ

= Kare ni iitai koto wo itte ki ga sunda.

= I told him what I wanted to say so I feel better now.

Ex. 彼女のために何かをしてあげないと気が済まない

= Kanojo no tame ni nanika wo shiteagenai to ki ga sumanai.

= I have to do something for her to feel better.

11) すみません ( = sumimasen)

Many of you already know the phrase,

すみません ( = sumimasen) = I’m sorry. / Excuse me. / Thank you.

This expression is originally from すみませぬ ( = sumimasenu) in old Japanese and 済む ( = sumu) also had the same meaning of  澄む ( = sumu) clean, pure

(これでは)気が済まない ( = (kore dewa) ki ga sumanai)

I am not satisfied with this. (My feelings are not clear. )

→I feel bad. / I feel guilty.  / I feel remorse. →I am sorry.

Ex. 遅い時間にお電話をしてすみません

= Osoi jikan ni odenwa wo shite sumimasen.

= I am sorry to call you late.

Ex. すみませんが、小皿をいただけますか?

= Sumimasen ga, kozara wo itadakemasu ka?

= Excuse me but could I have a small plate?

Ex. この間は、すみませんでした。

= Kono aida wa, sumimasen deshita.

= I am sorry for the other day.

 すいません ( = suimasen) is a casual form of すみません ( = sumimasen)

The plain form of すいません ( = suimasen) is

すまない ( = sumanai) male speech (some older women also use it.

Ex. すまないね 

= sumanaine

= Sorry!/I feel bad. 

すまん ( = suman) male speech, rough

Ex. すまないが、資料を明日までに作ってくれないか?」(male/sounds bossy)

= Sumanai ga, shiryou wo ashita made ni tsukuttekurenai ka?

= I’m sorry but can you prepare the documents by tomorrow?

Both men and women useすまない ( = sumanai) when you quote.

 Ex. 家族にはいつも迷惑をかけてすまない*と思っている。

= Kazoku niwa itsumo meiwaku wo kakete sumanai to omotte iru.

= I feel bad that I always trouble my family.

Ex. 娘:「お父さん、また私の誕生日忘れたの?」
= musume:

Otousan, mata watashi no tanjoubi wasureta no?

= daughter: “Dad, did you forget about my birthday again?”

父:「すまん、明日は早く帰ってくるから。」

= Suman, ashita wa hayaku kaette kuru kara.

father: “Sorry, I will be back home early tomorrow, OK?

すみません ( = sumimasen) means “I’m sorry” but you can also use it when you talk to someone “Excuse me.” or even say “Thank you.”

Ex. A:「お茶をどうぞ!」

= Ocha wo douzo.

= Please have some tea.

B: すみません。」

= Sumimasen.

= I’m sorry to trouble you. /Thank you.

Ex. すいません、ちょっと通してください。

= Suimasen, chotto tooshite kudasai.

= Excuse me, let me through.

***

OK! レッスンが済んだので遊びに行きます!

=OK! Ressun ga sunda no de asobini ikimasu.

= OK, we finished the lesson so we are going to go play now.

***

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

このレッスンを作るのは1週間では済まなかったです。

= Kono ressun wo tsukuru no wa ishuukan dewa sumanakatta desu.

= One week was not enough to make this lesson.

Kiki先生、Jiro先生、手伝ってくれてありがとう!

= Kiki Sensei, Jiro Sensei, tetsudatte kurete arigatou!

= Thank you for your help, Kiki-Sensei and Jiro-Sensei.

 

***

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12 Comments

  1. Maggie sensei, I have a question regarding this lesson. 済ませる is causative verb, and causative means ~ to force, allow, make someone do something, like 薬を飲ませた.

    In one of the sentence above:
    – もう、支払いは、済ませたから出ようよ。

    Does this mean he was forced to pay?

    1. もう、支払いは、済ませたから出ようよ。
      This simply means “I finished paying” not “to be forced to pay”

      済ませる・済ます are transitive verbs “somethingを済ます”
      and 済む is intransitive verb “somethingが済む”
      The causative form is 済まさせる passive 済まさせられる but I think it is rarely used.

      1. Oh that’s why. I assumed 済ませる was causitive because of 済む. It makes sense, thank you for clearing that up! :)

  2. I did not quite grasp the difference between 済ます and 済ませる. Is 済ませる the causative form of 済ます?

    1. 済ます・済ませる: They mean the same. 
      〜せる is more common but I will show you other examples.
      泣く→causative form 泣かせる  the verb which already has a causative meaning →泣かす 
      寝る→causative form 寝かせる the verb which already has a causative meaning →→寝かす 

  3. Thank you for this excellent lesson. I was aware of the verb 済む, but there are many expressions and meanings featured here that I was not aware of. Much appreciated!

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