Mada, gohan dekite-inai-no? (Is dinner not ready?)

Situation 1: At the Okubo’s home, Mariko is getting hungry.

まり子: お母さん、おなかすいた。あ、まだ、ご飯できていないの?

母: ごめん、久しぶりに、美香さんから電話がかかってきちゃっから・・・。

Markiko: Okāsan, onaka suita. A, mada, gohan dekite-inai-no?

Haha: Gomen, hisashiburi-ni, Mika-san-kara denwa-ga kakatte-kichatta-kara…..

Mariko: Mom, I’m hungry. Oh, is dinner not ready yet?

Mother: Sorry, Mika called and it has been a while.

Today, we will introduce various ways to use the adverb まだ (not yet). It is placed before a negative phrase Xない/ていない and expresses that X has not happened yet, as in Mariko’s phrase “ごはんができていない (Is dinner not ready yet?)” in Situation 1, or as in: “まだ行(い)かないの?早(はや)く行かないと遅刻(ちこく)するよ (Aren’t you leaving now? You’ll be late if you don’t leave soon).” Another example is: “このルートから登山(とざん)に成功(せいこう)した人(ひと)は、まだいない (Nobody has ever succeeded in climbing the mountain from this route).”

The phrase that follows まだ does not always need to be expressed in the negative form, but can be expressed in the affirmative form when used in the negative sense, e.g., だめだ (bad), 早い (early), 若い (young) or ふとりすぎ (too fat). Used in this way, it expresses that a condition has not reached an expected level. For example: “彼(かれ)は、チームリーダーになるには、まだ若(わか)い/若すぎる (He is too young to be a team leader).”

Situation 2: Mitsuo is leaving for school one morning.

光男: いってきます。

母: まだ雨が降っているみたいよ。かさを持っていってね。

Mitsuo: Itte-kimasu.

Haha: Mada ame-ga futte-iru-mitai-yo. Kasa-wo motte-itte-ne.

Mitsuo: I’m leaving (for school).

Mother: It looks like it is still raining; you should take your umbrella.

まだ is also used to express that a certain condition is continuing. In this case it’s used with an affirmative phrase as in the mother’s sentence in Situation 2, or as in: “父(ちち)は今(いま) 70歳(さい)ですが、まだ元気(げんき)に働(はたら)いています (My father is 70-years-old now, but is still working vigorously).”

To express that something is still remaining, まだ is used with the verb ある (to exist), as in: “しめきりまで、まだあと二日(ふつか)ある (There are two days left before the deadline).”

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita finds Mr. Sere working late in the office.

三田: あれっ、まだいたの? 今日(きょう)は早(はや)く帰(かえ)るって言(い)ってたじゃない。

セレ: うん、そのつもりだったんだけど、仕事(しごと)がまだ終(お)わらないんだ。

三田: 今夜(こんや)は、ゆりちゃんの誕生(たんじょう)祝(いわ)いをするんだよね?

セレ: うん、遅(おそ)くなるって、さっきメールを送(おく)ったんだけど、まだ返信(へんしん)が来(こ)ないんだ。

三田: きっと、すごく怒(おこ)ってるんだよ!

セレ: おどかさないでよ。あ、来(き)た!「私(わたし)のほうも、仕事が終わりそうにありません。同僚(どうりょう)が倒(たお)れて病院(びょういん)に運(はこ)ばれたの。すみませんが、今夜はキャンセルさせてください」だって。

三田: そうか、よかったね。いや、同僚の急病(きゅうびょう)のことじゃなくて。

セレ: わかってるよ。でも、この分(ぶん)だと、ゆりは仕事が忙(いそが)しくなるだろうし、ぼくは明日(あした)から1か月(いっかげつ)海外(かいがい)出張(しゅっちょう)だし、誕生祝いは、しばらく延期(えんき)だ。なんだか、今日のできごとは、ぼくたちのすれ違(ちが)い人生(じんせい)を表(あらわ)しているみたいだなあ。

Mita: Oh, you’re still here! You said you’d leave early this evening, didn’t you?

Sere: I intended to, but I haven’t finished my work yet.

Mita: I heard that you’re planning to celebrate Yuri’s birthday tonight.

Sere: Yeah. I sent an email to let her know that my work isn’t finished, but she hasn’t replied to me yet.

Mita: She’s probably very angry.

Sere: Don’t worry me like that. Oh, the email arrived! It says, “I won’t be able to finish my job either. A colleague of mine suddenly fell down and was taken to the hospital. I’m sorry but please cancel (our date) this evening.”

Mita: I see. That was good — oh, not about her colleague’s sudden accident.

Sere: I know. But, in this condition, she’ll be busy with her work, and I’m going to go on a business trip abroad tomorrow for a month. Her birthday celebration has to be postponed for a while. It seems that this situation represents the way our life passes by.

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