Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A group of people are talking about the best way to get rid of a monster in their town and one of the villagers says this: 仕方{しかた}あるまい。このまま放って{ほうって}おけば村は[全滅]{ぜんめつ}するかもしれん…。

From what I understand, まま means to leave or stay as is and ほうっておけば means if it's left as it is. So I'm wondering if both of them are necessary for this sentence to make sense or they are both put together for emphasis. Because they seem to be saying the same thing twice.

share|improve this question
まま just means "state" or "situation" here. – Zhen Lin Nov 8 '12 at 7:33

まま and 放っておく are quite different in meaning and function. The dictionary definition is similar in the same way that the dictionary definition for the English words "Conclusion" and "Finished" are similar.

まま is used in constructions like:

開いたまま = Opened and left that way

窓は開いたままでかまいませんか? = Is the window alright left open? (i.e. does it need to be closed?) このままでいいです = It's fine the way it is.

袋に入れましょうか? Shall I put it in a bag?
いや、このままでいいです。No it's fine the way it is.

放っておく is a construction of the base word ほうる "to abandon" or "to leave alone", with お meaning roughly, "on purpose/for the future".

In short, they are similar in lexical domain, but very different in usage.

share|improve this answer

A translation should make this clear:

(このまま) 放っておけば 村は全滅するかもしれん…。

If left (to itself / this way), the village would surely go to ruin.

So まま really only means "as it is", only with 放っておけば it composes to "left as it is".

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.