まま

まま Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Noun

Essential Meaning: As is / Unchanged / Remain as it is

Construction: 

  • Verb informal past + まま
    • E.g. めたまま [X remains closed / X is left closed closed]
  • Negative verb informal + まま
    • E.g. めないまま [X remains not closed / X is left not closed]
  • い-Adjective + まま
    • E.g. たかいまま [X remains expensive]
  • な-Adjective Stem + なまま
    • E.g. しずかなまま [X remains quiet]
  • Noun + のまま
    • E.g. むかしのまま [X remains as it was in the past]

Notes:

  • Xまま conveys the idea that situation X remains unchanged (usually while some situation Y occurs). For example, consider the sentence: 電気でんきをつけたままてしまいました。[I fell asleep while the lights remained on.] In this example, the lights are on; this is the situation that remains unchanged. Then, while the lights remain on, the speaker falls asleep. When using まま, the unchanged situation X precedes the main action Y. Sometimes there is no main action Y, and the sentence merely expresses that state X remains unchanged.
    • E.g. この部屋へや昨日きのうのままだ。[This room is as it was yesterday.]
  • In most cases, the verb that precedes まま takes the informal past tense. But when the unchanged situation X takes a negative verb, that verb takes the nonpast tense.
    • E.g. ドアをめないままかけてしまった。[I left the house without closing the window.] The predicate of the unchanged situation (i.e. めない) is in the negative nonpast tense.
    • E.g. さようならの挨拶あいさつもしないままってしまった。[I went without even saying goodbye.] The predicate of the unchanged situation (i.e. しない) is in the negative nonpast tense.
  • When the verb that precedes まま is non-volitional (e.g. a passive verb form or a verb conveying internal feelings), it is acceptable to use either the past or nonpast tense.
    • E.g. われるままをはらった。[I paid just as I was told to.] This example uses a nonpast tense interior verb and a past tense main verb.
    • E.g. われたままをはらった。[I paid just as I was told to.] This example uses both a past tense interior verb and a past tense main verb.
    • E.g. おもっているままをいてみた。[I tried writing down exactly how I felt.] This example uses a nonpast tense interior verb and a past tense main verb.
    • E.g. おもっていたままをいてみた。[I tried writing down exactly how I felt.] This example uses both a past tense interior verb and a past tense main verb.
  • When a non-する verb directly follows まま, you can optionally separate まま and the verb with で (in this case, で acts as the て-Form of the copula だ). With ままで, the statements before and after ままで comes across more like two coordinated phrases rather than a single unified phrase.
    • E.g. おとうとはテレビをつけたままてしまった。 [My younger brother slept with the TV on.]
    • E.g. おとうとはテレビをつけたままでてしまった。[My younger brother left the TV on, and he fell asleep.]
  • Verb informal negative nonpast + まま (e.g. めないまま) can be re-phrased using ないで or ずに. The difference is that ないで / ずに focuses primarily on the negative aspect of the verb (i.e. focusing on what didn’t occur), while まま focuses primarily on the unaltered situation that did occur.
    • E.g. ドアをめないままかけてしまった。[He left with the door open.]
    • E.g. ドアをめないで / ずにかけてしまった。[He left without closing the door.]
  • In casual speech, まま is often expresses as まんま. The meaning is exactly the same.

Example Sentences:

おとうとはテレビをつけたままてしまった。[My little brother fell asleep with the TV on.]

おとうとはテレビをつけたままにしておいた。[My younger brother left the TV on.]

おとうとはテレビをつけたままだ。[My younger brother left the TV on.]

この部屋へや昨日きのうのままだ。[This room is as it was yesterday.]

ここはこのままにしておく。[I’ll leave this place as it is.]

テレビがついたままになっている。[The TV was turned on and it’s still on.]

帽子ぼうしをかぶったままの学生がくせい教室きょうしつにいた。[The boy who kept his hat on was in the classroom.]

WILD Examples:

At 3:16, listen for this line: ぼくそのままそだてるよ[I am raising (Koiking) just as it is.]
The chorus of this song begins as follows: ありのまま姿すがたせるのよ、ありのまま自分じぶんになるの [I will show my form as is truly is, I will become my true self]
Listen for this line at 1:56: いつものむくまま一人ひとりきてきた [Always living on a whim, continuing my life all alone] のむくまま is an idiomatic usage that means “as once fancies” or “on a whim“.
This song begins with the following line: イェーイ!きみきでよかった、このままずっとずっとぬまでハッピー、万歳ばんざいきみえてよかった、このままずっとずっとラララ二人ふたり [Yeah! I’m glad that I fell in love with you. Just like this, just like this, I’ll be happy until I die…Banzai! I’m glad that I was able to meet you. Just like this, just like this, la la la, just the two of us]

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