Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 8: 18/22

既(すで)に
Already, too late

Structure
すでに + Phrase
Details
Register Formal
使用域 硬い
Information
As a formal alternative to もう, the 副詞(ふくし) (adverb) 既(すで)に is used in Japanese as ‘already’. Usually, 既(すで)に will come at the beginning of a phrase that it is clarifying as being ‘already (A)’.
  • お湯(ゆ)はすでにわいている
    The hot water is already boiled.
  • すでにお支払(しはら)い済(ず)みです
    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 既(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売(う)り切(き)れです
    The tickets are already sold out. (Nothing remains)
  • 彼(かれ)はすでに国民(こくみん)から名前(なまえ)忘(わす)れられている
    His name has already been forgotten by the citizens. (Universal opinion)
  • 彼(かれ)はすでにみんな仲良(なかよ)くなっていた
    He was already becoming friends with absolutely everyone. (Altogether)
  • さっき食(た)べたばかりのに、もうすでにお腹(なか)空(す)いてきた
    I just ate earlier, but I am already starting to get hungry. (Already)
  • これすでに決(き)まった事(こと)なのでもう私達(わたしたち)じゃ何(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 既(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)はすでに出発(しゅっぱつ)しました。
    The train has left already. (And there is nothing we can do about it)
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すでに知(し)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)聞(き)いてください。
You may already know, but please listen once more just to be sure.
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一番(いちばん)乗(の)りだと思(おも)ったら、すでに先客(せんきゃく)がいた。
I thought I was the first to arrive, but there was already someone there before me.
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時(とき)すでに遅(おそ)し。
You are already too late.
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