までに / までで Japanese Grammar Lesson
Grammar Type: Particle
Essential Meaning: By / Before X Time / By the time when (indicates a deadline or time limit)
- Time Noun + までに
- E.g. 五時までに [Before 5 o’clock]
- Verb informal nonpast + までに
- E.g. 話すまでに [Before X speaks]
- までに basically expresses a deadline or limit before which some action finishes or must take place.
- When used with a time noun, までに simply expresses a deadline (E.g. “Before 5 PM“, “By Monday“).
- E.g. 出発の一時間前までにきてください。[Please come at least one hour before departure.]
- When までに is used with a verb, the verb cannot represent a continuous state (e.g. いる [To be]). The verb must express some action that has a discrete beginning and end. まで can instead be used with verbs that expresses continuous states.
- There is a subtle difference between までに and まえに. まえに simply expresses that some action occurs earlier in the temporal sequence than something else. までに, on the other hand, conveys the idea of a deadline. In other words, the difference between まえに and までに is similar to the difference between “Before 2 PM” and “By 2 PM“.
- までで is another particle that is very similar to までに. The difference is that までに conveys the idea of completing or ceasing some action before some deadline, while までで conveys the idea of completing or ceasing an action at (i.e. inclusive of) some finish line.
- E.g. この教科書は二十課までありますが、今学期は十課までで終わります。[This textbook goes through chapter 20, but this semester we will finish at Chapter 10.] In this example, the semester’s work finishes at (and is inclusive of) chapter 10, so までで is the appropriate choice. If the speaker had instead said that the class’s work would finish before chapter 11, までに would have been appropriate.
- E.g. この教科書は二十課までありますが、大事なことは十課までに全部出てきます。[There are twenty chapters in this textbook, but all the important info appears prior to chapter 10.] Because the important work finishes before chapter 10, までに is the correct choice.
私は十時までに帰る。[I will go home before 10 o’clock.]
学校が始まるまでにこの本を読んでおいてください。[Before school starts, please read this book in preparation.]
何時までに空港に行けばいいでしょうか。[By what time shall I go to the airport?]
僕はこのレポートを一月二十日までに書き上げなければならないんだ。[I must write and submit this report by January 20th.]
ジェット機がパリに着くまでに本を３冊読んでしまいました。[By the time the jet landed in Paris, I had read three books.]
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