Forum   Blog   Links  

Nothing Ever Changes

← Previous (Time-specific actions) | Table of Contents | Next (Advanced Topics) →

Expressing a lack of change

Up until now, we've mostly been talking about things that have happened or changed in the course of events. We will now learn some simple grammar to express a lack of change.

Using 「まま」 to express a lack of change

「まま」, not to be confused with the childish expression for "mother" (ママ), is a grammatical phrase to express a lack of change in something. Grammatically, it is used just like a regular noun. You'll most likely hear this grammar at a convenience store when you buy a very small item. Since store clerks use super polite expressions and at lightening fast speeds, learning this one expression will help you out a bit in advance. (Of course, upon showing a lack of comprehension, the person usually repeats the exact same phrase... at the exact same speed.)


(1) このまま宜しいですか?
- Is it ok just like this?

In other words, the clerk wants to know if you'll take it just like that or whether you want it in a small bag. 「宜しい」, in case I haven't gone over it yet, is simply a very polite version of 「いい」. Notice that 「まま」 grammatically works just like a regular noun which means, as usual, that you can modify it with verb phrases or adjectives.

(2) 半分しか食べてないまま捨てちゃダメ
- You can't throw it out leaving it in that half-eaten condition!

Ok, the translation is very loose, but the idea is that it's in an unchanged state of being half-eaten and you can't just throw that out.

Here's a good example I found googling around. It is chock full of grammar which are explained here, here, and here.
Hint: The 「いさせる」 is the causative form of 「いる」 meaning "let/make me exist".

(3) 今日だけは悲しいままいさせてほしい
- For only today, I want you to let me stay in this sad condition.

Finally, just in case, here's an example of direct noun modification.

(4) その格好のままクラブ入れないよ。
- You can't get in the club in that getup (without changing it).

Using 「っぱなし」 to leave something the way it is

The verb 「放す」 meaning "to set loose", can be used in various ways in regards to leaving something the way it is. For instance, a variation 「放っとく」 is used when you want to say "Leave me alone". For instance, you might use the command form of a request (くれる) and say, 「ほっといてくれ!」(Leave me alone!). Yet another variant 「ほったらかす」 means "to neglect".

The grammar I would like to discuss here is the 「っぱなし」 suffix variant. You can attach this suffix to the stem of any verb to describe the act of doing something and leaving it that way without changing it. You can treat the combination like a regular noun.

As usual, you can click the [EX] link after looking up the word at the WWWJDIC to see examples. In fact, here's a direct link to examples of this grammar. As you can see by the examples, this suffix carries a nuance that the thing left alone is due to oversight or neglect. Here are the (simple) conjugation rules for this grammar.

Using 「っぱなし」 to complete an action and leave it that way


(1) テレビ付けっぱなししなければ眠れないは、結構いる
- There exists a fair number of people who cannot sleep unless they turn on the TV and leave it that way.

(2) 開けっ放しだったので、いっぱい入った
- The window was left wide open so a lot of mosquitoes got in.

← Previous (Time-specific actions) Table of Contents Next (Advanced Topics) →

This page has last been revised on 2005/4/13
Fixed some typos and cleaned up format (2005/4/13)