How to use もう & まだ ( = mou & mada)




= 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?


= 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!


= Mou iikagen ni shiro yo!

= Enough already!


= 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.


= 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.


= 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.


= 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 Sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Minky sensei!


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

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


= Soretomo mou shitte imashitaka?

= Or did you already know how to use it?


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  1. Hi maggie sensei. I saw a sentence that had the word また別 and I saw that it translates as another or different in some sites. I would like to know what the difference between this word and 別, 区別 or 違い.

    1. Hi Ronaldo
      As you said the translation might change depending on the context but the general idea is
      別 another
      区別 distinguish
      違い difference

        1. Do you remember what word comes after また別?
          For example
          That’s another story.

          In this case, they mean the same but this また emphasize “another” more than just using 別

          Let’s meet another day.

          In this case, it depends on the context and it could be emphasizing another or “to meet again.”

  2. 今朝雨がずっと降っていたけど今はもう雨が(A降らない、b降っていない)どちらがただしいですか理由も教えて欲しいです。

    1. Hi Tarun
      It should be 降っていない
      The key word is 今は = now. You have to express what is happening now.

      If the sentence is
      今朝は雨がずっと降っていたけど、午後はもう雨が(    )だろう
      then 降らない works.

      1. この問題は試験にでましたがoptions are (A降らない、b降っていない、C 降る、D ふっている)この4つの中で一番正しいのはどれですか

  3. Hi Maggie sensei!
    I noticed in casual conversations, people will often use もう at the end of sentences. For example, if two friends are joking around and one of them goes “やめて、もう!!”
    Does this もう have the same meaning, like “quit it already!!” or is it a different grammar form?

    1. Hi Cristine,

      Yes, that もう is conversational but it means “enough”
      The same usage
      *もういい加減にしてよ。(female speech)
      = Enough already!

      やめてもう! = Quiet it already/ That’s enough!
      (Expressing one’s frustration)

      Similar expressions
      もういやだ!/もううんざり= I had it enough!

  4. hi Maggie sensei, thank you for the support you provide for the people learning japanese.

    the difference between もう and まだ ususally seems pretty clear to me, axcept for the もう一回 or もう一度 situation.

    I really don’t get why this is the sentence used for ‘once again’.
    in this case もう is only translatable with ‘again’ but this is supposed to be a translation more fitting the word まだ.

    can you clarify this doubt of mine? I could’t find an explanation anywhere online.
    as I’m italian, I’m not english mother tongue, so maybe I’m missing something about the english words ‘yet/again’.

    thank you so much.


    1. Hello Rom,

      Ah, OK, I didn’t cover that in this lesson. Maybe I should add that sometime.

      もう + 1 + counter (in affirmative sentence) has a meaning of “one more ~ ” / “another one” “the other ”

      もう一回 ・もう一度= one more time, again

      = I would like to go to Japan again.

      もう一杯 = another cup/bowl/glass of ~

      = Mou ippai wain wo nomitai.
      = I would like to have another glass of wine.

      You also use it as “the other”
      For example you have two dogs.
      = This dog is white. The other one is black.

      1. Hello Maggie Sensei, sorry for my late comment. I just want to know why there’s a use of もう even though it’s not properly necessary(in my opinion) for the sentence like this:


        At this point, what would happen to the meaning of this sentence if we didn’t add もう or vice versa.


        1. Hello Siren
          OK, you say
          when you simply asking your mother for permission to go out to play.

          By adding もう implies that you have been waiting to go out to play for a long time.
          Maybe your mother told you to finish your homework or help her before you go out. And when you finish what you need to do, you ask your mother お母さん、もう遊びに行ってもいいですか? Can I go out to play now?
          So the nuance changes with or without もう

          1. Oh, what a wonderful explanation for everyone to see obviously.

            [Image 74.jpg]

  5. This is an old submission but every time I visit I’m confused on the glass half empty usage.

    Why is もう半分ない translated as half is already gone? Is this not a case of negative conjugation?

    1. Hi Wane

      ない means “there isn’t ~ ” /” not to have ~ ”

      Ex.水がない = There is no water. /I don’t have water.
      Adding もう,
      Ex. もう水がない = There was water before but it’s gone now/water is already gone.
      Ex. もう半分ない (The literal meaning “there isn’t the half glass of water already) the glass was full before but the half of the water is gone.

  6. Hello Maggie sensei. I saw this sentence: “Mada, nanika kakushite iru na!”. I guess it means “there’s still something hidden!”, but why the comma right after “mada”? Is it just a mistake?

    Also, thank you for all your amazing hard work and many useful examples!

    1. Hello sanjuro

      “Mada, nanika kakushite iru na!”. = You are still hiding something.
      Actually you don’t need a comma after “mada” but I think it’s just writing style. Probably the writer wants to emphasize “mada”.

  7. Hello Maggie sensei,

    Could you please help to check my sentences!

    1/ また新年が来たけど、まだ一人ぼっち。

    I want to say

    Again, New Year is coming, but I’m still alone.
    But it doesn’t matter because I have family.

    2/ 女の命。誰とも付き合ったことがない.

    I want to say

    My fate is that I was born as a girl. I even have not dated with anyone else.
    Looking into the future, what I saw is like the wide river and a long road.

    Thanks my Lady.

    1. Hello again,

      1. が、→でも
      ぜんぜん問題にならない。→The Japanese is perfect but 問題になる sounds too serious. How about 全然(ぜんぜん) or 全く(まったく)気にならない。

      2. There are many ways of saying “life” in Japanese. When you say 命 it means the life whether you are alive or not (=dead).
      My fate is that I was born as a girl. = 女としての人生 or 女/女性として生まれた運命
      未来を見ると is fine but how about to peek, 未来を覗いてみると長い道のようなたびだった。 or 長い道のりだった

  8. Interesting lesson. But you shouldn’t feed a cat like you feed a dog. Food must always be available to cats because they take more than ten meals a day :)

  9. Hi sensei!
    This site is very good.

    I just have one question though, where is the correct placement of
    Is it before the verb?
    Before or after the particle?


    All try mean the same in google translate.

    Thanks you!

    1. Hi Jezreel

      First the sentence itself is wrong so let me change it a little.

      I haven’t got the answer for my question.

      The possible placement of まだ


      1. ご回答いただき、ありがとうございます。

        Is that so? なるほどね
        Is there any difference in the meaning?
        A hidden context perhaps?

        Thank you.

        1. The translation is the same but you emphasize the word まだ (yet) in the following order
          1 > 2> 3

          1) “まだ”私の質問に回答をもらっていません。
          2) 私の質問に”まだ”回答をもらっていません。
          3) 私の質問に回答を”まだ”もらっていません。

  10. Hi, 先生!! I’m having trouble understanding the difference between まだ~ていません and まだ~いません.

    One of the things I found on the Internet was that with TE-IRU we leave the door open up to the possibility of eating in the future(?)

    Thanks in advance :)!

    1. OK, let’s compare the following two sentences.
      宿題は、まだやっていません。 I haven’t done my homework yet. (The key is I have not finished my homework yet.)
      宿題は、まだやりません。I am not going to to my homework yet. (I am showing my will/ I decided not going to do my homework yet.)

      So まだやっていません is wether you have done/finish doing something that you are supposed to do.
      まだやりません is used when you express your will. :you decide not to do something yet.

  11. おはよう先生!
    I have some questions

    1. ” もう7月なの? 時間が過ぎるの早いね.”
    What is の after 過ぎる here?

    When exactly we use this phrase? Can you give me a situation please?

    3.”もうそんなことは言いません。” can we say そんなことはもう言いません”?

    4.” 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。”

    As for world why did you use よinstead of せかい? Im confused
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi again. Someone has been studying hard!

      1. 時間がすぎるの(は)早いね。
      の is to nominalize a verb, すぎる
      すぎる = to pass
      すぎるの = passing
      In conversation you often skip particle (は)

      2. When you have had enough. (To express one’s annoying feelings.)

      Give me a break/That’s enough.

      For example someone is keep bothering you, doing something annoying, etc., you say いい加減にして

      3. Yes. When you stress your feelings, you start the sentence with もう

      4. 世界 / 世の中 are both translated as “world” but they are slightly different in Japanese.
      For the world in global meaning, you use 世界 and you use 世の中 to refer to the world where you actually live / one’s environment.

  12. Could you explain the difference in nuance between mat a and mada, they are similar, but not interchangeable, when do I use which one?

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    2. Hi Maggie Sensei,

      I have a question regarding on of the examples


      How is this different from


      I know that both can be translated as “Are you still there?” And that いた is the past tense of いる.

      I found some stuff online that it could be similar due the present perfect phasing but didn’t know if that was what it is.

      1. Hi Luke

        You are right. The translation could be the same but what you focus on is slightly different.
        そこにいたの focusing on the continuous action from the past to the present. You have been there the whole time.
        そこにいるの focusing on the current state. ‘You are (still) there”

  15. 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. :)

  16. 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。

  17. まだ :rrrr: [昨日のこと]、怒っているの?

    :rrrr: = Mada !BOO!! [missing] :rrrr: [kinou no koto] okotte iruno?

  18. 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?

  19. 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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