Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 8: 6/13

(Verb) + まで
Until (something) happens

Structure
Verb + まで
Details
Part of Speech Noun
Word Type Adverbial Particle
Register Standard
品詞 名詞
単語の種類 副助詞
使用域 一般
Information
まで is a particle that roughly means ‘as far as (A)’, or ‘until the point of (A)’. When used with verbs, it is often translated as ‘until (A) happens’.
Because まで means ‘as far as/until the point of’, it cannot be used with verbs in past tense, as would usually be the case in English. Due to this, past tense will be made clear by the context of the story, or verbs that come later in the sentence.
  • 友達(ともだち)来(く)るまで、駅(えき)ウロウロした
    Until my friend came, I wandered around the station. (した gives the whole sentence the meaning of past tense)
  • 携帯(けいたい)壊(こわ)れまで、使(つか)います
    Until my phone breaks, I will use it.
When used with a place, まで functions similarly to に. This means that someone or something will go ‘to’ the place, but not go any further.
Caution
To get a better idea of how まで is used in relation to the past, let’s have a look another example, and how it would translate in English.
  • 授業(じゅぎょう)始(はじ)ままで、先生(せんせい)来(こ)なかった
    The teacher didn’t come until the class started.
Here we can see that the English sentence will say ‘started’, but 始(はじ)まる ‘start’ (non-past tense) is required in Japanese. However, later in the sentence, 来(こ)なかった (past tense) is used. In this way, the overall meaning stays the same, while being slightly different to what an English native speaker would expect.
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映画(えいが)始(はじ)まるまで友達(ともだち)話(はな)した
Until the movie started, I talked with my friend.
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彼(かれ)来(く)るまで日本語(にほんご)勉強(べんきょう)します
Until he comes, I will study Japanese.
Play  
カタカナ覚(おぼ)えるまで私(わたし)寝(ね)ない
Until I memorize katakana, I won't sleep.
Play  
Books
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 228
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 260
Marugoto Elementary 2 (A2) Rikai
Page 80 & 109