“Already”, “Anymore”, “Soon” and “More”: もう

The Japanese word もう (mou) is a versatile term that plays a significant role in everyday conversation. Depending on the context, it can mean "already," "anymore," "soon," "more," or even express frustration or surprise. Here’s a closer look at the different uses of もう and examples to illustrate each meaning.

もう as "Already"

One of the most common uses of もう is to indicate that something has already happened or been completed. It conveys a sense of completion or the fact that a particular state has been reached.

もう おわった よ。 – I’ve already finished.

もう しってる。 – I already know.

かれ は もう かえった。 – He has already gone home.

もう as "Anymore"

もう can also be used in negative sentences to mean "anymore." In this case, it indicates that a certain action or state no longer occurs or exists.

もう たべない。 – I don’t eat (it) anymore.

かれ は もう こない。 – He doesn’t come anymore.

もう がまん できない。 – I can’t endure it anymore.

もう as "Soon" or "Almost"

When indicating that something is about to happen, もう can mean "soon" or "almost." It suggests an imminent action or state.

もう すぐ なつ やすみ だ。 – Summer vacation is soon.

もう すこし で おわる。 – It’s almost finished.

でんしゃ が もう くる。 – The train is coming soon.

もう as "More"

In some contexts, もう can also mean "more," particularly when asking for or indicating a quantity.

もう いちど おねがい します。 – One more time, please.

もう すこし ください。 – Please give me a little more.

もう いっぱい どう ですか? – How about one more cup?

もう as an Expression of Frustration or Surprise

もう can also be used to express frustration, impatience, or surprise, often similar to how "come on" or "geez" might be used in English.

もう!なに してる の? – Come on! What are you doing?

もう、しんじられない! – I can’t believe it!

もう うんざり だ。 – I’m fed up.

The word もう (mou) is a small but powerful component of the Japanese language. Its meaning shifts with context, allowing speakers to express a variety of concepts, from the timing of actions to quantities, and even emotional reactions. By understanding the different uses of もう, learners of Japanese can greatly enhance their comprehension and communication skills.

Practicing sentences with もう in various contexts is an excellent way to become familiar with its versatility. Whether you’re stating that something is already done, expressing that you don’t do something anymore, or showing frustration, もう is an essential part of the Japanese lexicon.