Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 8: 18/23

(すで)

Already, Too late

Structure

すでに + Phrase

Details

  • Register

    Formal

  • 使用域

    硬い

About すでに

As a formal alternative to もう, the adverb (すで)に is used in Japanese as 'already'. Usually, (すで)に will come at the beginning of a phrase that it is clarifying as being 'already (A)'.
  • ()すでにわいている
    The hot water is already boiled.
  • すでに支払(しはら)()です
    It has already been paid for.
すでに has several nuances in Japanese beyond just 'already', let's take a look at a few of these possibilities:
のこらず - Nothing remaining.
あまねく - All around.
ことごとく - Altogether.
もはや - Already.
まぎれもなく - Beyond doubt.
These may all seem quite different, but together they show the full meaning of (すで)に very clearly. That meaning is 'to be completely unchanging'. Let's take a look at how すでに can be used with each of these nuances.
  • もうすでにチケットは()()です
    The tickets are already sold out. (Nothing remains)
  • (かれ)すでに国民(こくみん)から名前(なまえ)(わす)れられている
    His name has already been forgotten by the citizens. (Universal opinion)
  • (かれ)すでにみんな仲良(なかよ)くなっていた
    He was already becoming friends with absolutely everyone. (Altogether)
  • さっき()たばかりのに、もうすでに(なか)()てきた
    I just ate earlier, but I am already starting to get hungry.
  • これすでに()まった(こと)のでもう私達(わたしたち)じゃ(なに)もできません
    It is beyond doubt that this has been decided, so we can't do anything about it. (Beyond doubt)
Caution
Due to (すで)に implying something absolutely cannot be changed, it is often used to imply that something is 'too late', and that nothing else can be done about it.
  • 電車(でんしゃ)すでに出発(しゅっぱつ)しました。
    The train has left already. (And there is nothing we can do about it)

Examples

--:--

    (すで)()っているかもしれませんが、確認(かくにん)のためにもう一度(いちど)()いてください。

    You may already know, but please listen once more just to be sure.

    一番(いちばん)()りだと(おも)ったら、(すで)先客(せんきゃく)がいた。

    I thought I was the first to arrive, but there was already someone there before me.

    (とき)(すで)(おそ)し。

    You are already too late.

    電話(でんわ)料金(りょうきん)(すで)(はら)()えました。

    I have already paid the telephone bill.

    ()きたてのパンを()おうとした(とき)には(すで)()()れでした。

    The freshly baked bread was already sold out when I was about to buy it.

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すでに – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (4 in total)

  • mrnoone

    mrnoone

    Hey
    It is a set phrase.

    遅し is くadjective in predicative form (the form used on the end of the clause, not the form used to modify nouns, in classical Japanese predicative and attributive forms were different for adjectives (more here))

    く adjectives are basically ancestors of modern い adjectives.

  • MZa

    MZa

    Here and elsewhere the translation of 既に is almost always ‘already’ even when ‘too late’ could be meaningful. Is it due to the way how this word is really understood and used by Japanese? Is there another word to say ‘too late’ without ambiguity?

  • Daru

    Daru

    The basic meaning is always ‘implying something absolutely cannot be changed’. So rather than losing one of the meanings, its really the same one being changed around to better fit a translation.

    Hope this helps!

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