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These are the two sentences in question:

いいえ、まだしません。

いいえ、まだしていません。

From my understanding they both mean something like "No, I didn't yet" or even simply "No, not yet" but there must be a difference in translation/meaning or application that I'm missing obviously based around the ています which is present continuous correct?

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1 Answer 1

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The meaning of these two sentences is likely to be different.

Plain negative:

(1) いいえ、まだしない。
"No, (I) do not do it (habitually) yet." (yet: habitual)
"No, (I) will not do it yet." (yet: habitual)
"No, (I) still do not do it (habitually)." (still: habitual)
"No, (I) still will not do it." (still: future)

Negative ている:

(2) いいえ、まだしていない。
"No, (I) have not done it yet." (yet: stative)
"No, (I) am not doing it yet." (yet: progressive)
"No, (I) am not doing (habitually) it yet." (yet: habitual)
"No, (I) still have not done it." (still: stative)
"No, (I) am still not doing it." (still: progressive)
"No, (I) am still not doing it (habitually)." (still: habitual)

Examples:

「宿題は終わった?」 "Did you finish your homework?"
「いいえ、まだしていません。」 "No, I haven't done it yet." (yet: stative)

まだしません would be wrong here, because that would mean "I am not doing my homework (regularly/habitually) yet.", or "No, I am still not going to do my homework (regularly/habitually)." or "No (I) am still not going to do it." none of which are an answer to the question.

息子はまだ(毎日)歩かない。
"My son does not walk (every day) yet." (yet: habitual)
"My son still does not walk (every day)." (still: habitual)

(昨日から)息子はまだ歩いていない。
"My son has not walked yet (since yesterday)." (yet: stative)
"My son still hasn't walked (since yesterday)." (still: stative)

(立ち上がったばかりなので)息子はまだ歩いていない。
"(My son just stood up a second ago,) so he is not walking yet." (yet: progressive)
"(My son just stood up a second ago,) so he still is not walking." (still: progressive)

息子はまだ(毎日)歩いていない。
"My son is not walking (every day) yet." (yet: habitual)
"My son is still not walking (every day)." (still: habitual)

Here is an example sentence which allows all the different interpretations. I use some extra pieces of text to help disambiguate the ていない sentences semantically. (I couldn't think of a nice example for する that allows all interpretations, so I went with 歩く instead -- I hope this isn't confusing.)

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    Is that what they teach まだしない means in the world Japanese as a foreign language? It is not even close to what it means here in Japan.
    – user4032
    Jan 13, 2014 at 0:40
  • @TokyoNagoya Thank you for your comment. I thought about it more, and have tried to improve my answer (though it seems to be getting very long as a result...). I am not sure if I have addressed your specific concern. Jan 13, 2014 at 1:33
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    @TokyoNagoya: It would be far more helpful to state what まだしない does mean than only saying it doesn't mean what's written in the answer.
    – Questioner
    Jan 13, 2014 at 15:31
  • I'm interested in clarification too. Jan 13, 2014 at 17:44
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    Sure, writing an answer is more helpful than leaving a quick comment saying something is wrong. But it also takes a lot more time and effort, and I think it's wrong to demand that time and effort of others. So I appreciate quick comments. Even if they don't explain what the correct answer is, they're a signal to other readers that this isn't it. (Of course, such comments should ideally be written tactfully.)
    – user1478
    Jan 13, 2014 at 18:40

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