905 - まで

JLPT N3: まで (even)

You might have seen this nifty lil guy being used in a few different ways. For example, まで can be used to mean "until" a certain time, "up to" a certain physical or metaphorical point, or "as far as" a certain extent. まで as it's used in this lesson means "even."

You might already know this, but like with many grammar points we come across in the joys of Japanese learning, there is more than one way to say "even," and most of them have slightly different nuances. This まで is used when you want to express the extreme or surprising degree of something.

Okay, yeah. That sounds pretty confusing.

Hopefully the following example will help: 

お母さんまで、私が盗んだと思ってるの?
おかあさん まで、 わたし が ぬすんだ と おもってる の?
Mom, even you think I’m the one who stole it?
Literally: “mom + まで, + I + が + stole + と + is thinking + の?”


If a stranger was accusing you of something, you could probably understand. If a friend doubted you, sure it would hurt, but again, you might expect it. But the woman who raised you? Your own flesh and blood? Too far, bro. Too far.

Also, if your own mom thinks you're a thief, why should anyone else believe you? 

 

Although the above example is used to show something is unexpected in a negative way, まで can also be used to show happy surprises. For example:

入院中、友達だけでなく、学校の先生までお見舞いに来てくれた。
にゅういん ちゅう、 ともだち だけ でなく、 がっこう の せんせい まで おみまい に きて くれた。
When I was in the hospital, it wasn’t just my friends who came to see me. Even my teachers paid me a visit.
Literally: “during (my) hospitalization, + friends + not only (=だけでなく), + school + の + teachers + まで + calling on someone who is ill + に + come (and) + gave (me).”


*cough* teacher's pet *cough*

This sentence is a great example of how まで is used to describe something that is extreme or surprising in a sentence that contains things that are normal or expected. Basically, the speaker here would naturally expect his friends to visit him in the hospital. But having his teachers visit him was unexpected. For lack of a better word, this outcome seemed more "special" or "extreme" to him.

 

Here's another way to use it:

タバコはやめたが、お酒までやめるつもりはない。
タバコ は やめた が、 おさけ まで やめる つもり は ない。
I quit smoking, but I’ve got no intention of giving up drinking, too.
Literally: “cigarettes / smoking + は + quit + but (=が), + alcohol + まで + quit + intention + は + (I) don’t have.”


Giving up smoking? Sure, it's tough, but it's doable. But drinking? Hold my beer. What are you, crazy? 

 

As you can see above, all you gotta do is take a NOUN and put まで right after it.

Sometimes, however, you'll see a particle sneak in between the two. Like this:

長年ギャンブル依存症の彼女は、とうとう家族まで見放されてしまった。
ながねん ギャンブル いぞんしょう(いそんしょう) の かのじょ は、 とうとう かぞく に まで みはなされて しまった。
After years of dealing with her gambling addiction, even her family has finally turned their back on her.
Literally: “many years / a long time + gambling + addiction + の + she + は, + finally + family + に + まで + was abandoned / was given up on (unfortunately).”

 

This use of まで is pretty common, and it can be really fun to use when you want to express yourself in a more subtle, natural way.

Well, that's it for this lesson. Great job!

お疲れさま〜