Wild Nihongo!
までに / までで

までに / までで

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. 五時ごじまでに [Before 5 o’clock]
  • Verb informal nonpast + までに
    • E.g. はなすまでに [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. 出発しゅっぱつ一時間いちじかんまえ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.
    • E.g. *来月らいげつまでにいる。[I’ll be here by next month.] This sentence is ungrammatical because までに cannot be used with a continuous stative verb such as いる. まで can be used instead.
    • E.g. 五時ごじまでっている。[I’ll be waiting here until 5 o’clock.] まで is the appropriate choice with a continuous state such as っている.
  • 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. この教科書きょうかしょ二十課にじゅうかまでありますが、今学期こんがっき十課じゅうかまででわります。[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. この教科書きょうかしょ二十課にじゅうかまでありますが、大事だいじなことは十課じゅうかまでに全部ぜんぶてきます。[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.

Example Sentences:

わたし十時じゅうじまでにかえる。[I will go home before 10 o’clock.]

学校がっこうはじまるまでにこのほんんでおいてください。[Before school starts, please read this book in preparation.]

何時なんじまでに空港くうこうけばいいでしょうか。[By what time shall I go to the airport?]

ぼくはこのレポートを一月いちがつ二十日はつかまでにげなければならないんだ。[I must write and submit this report by January 20th.]

ジェットがパリにくまでにほんを3さつんでしまいました。[By the time the jet landed in Paris, I had read three books.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line from 0:57: 黄色きいろはないてがなるころまでにはなんくるない [Up until the time when the yellow flower blooms and bears fruit, don’t worry be happy!]
Listen to this line at 4:20: いままでで一番いちばん大好だいすきなきみ [Up to now you are the one that I loved the most]
Listen to this line at 0:22: わりするわ、わるまでにきてね [I’m having another drink, come here by the time I finish it]
Listen to this line at 5:34: でも、かならず、夜中よなか12までにもどるのてすよ [But you absolutely must return before 12 o’clock]

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