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A : 会議は何時ごろ終わりますか?
B : もうしばらく____はずですが。

1.終わり  2.終わる  3.終わった  4.終わらない

I've been pondering why the answer has to be 4.
Can anyone explain it to me please?

1 Answer 1

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The correct answer should be #4 終わらない because しばらく means "for a while" and not "in a while / after a while" or "a while ago".

もうしばらく終わらないはずですが。
lit. I think it won't finish for a little while more."
→ "I think it will continue for a little while more."

To use #1, #2 and #3, you'd need to change the sentence this way:

1 → もうしばらく終わりはずですが。(adding の since 終わり is a noun form)
"I think it will finish in a little while more. / soon."
2 → もう しばらく終わる / しばらくすれば終わる はずですが。
"I think it will finish in a little while more. / soon."
3 → もうしばらく前に終わったはずですが。
"I think it already finished a while ago." (The もう here means "already".)

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  • Today, I see "もうすく終わると思います" Why this is usable without using で?
    – Kiw
    Jan 21, 2019 at 18:35
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    @Kiw You can say もうすぐ終わると思います cos 「(もう)すぐ」 is an adverb. (It's もうす , not もうすく.)
    – chocolate
    Jan 21, 2019 at 22:59
  • Is もう an adverb, しばらか a noun so I have to use で ? I search しばらく in a dict. It shows that しばらく is an adverb too. I understand as you mentioned that もうしばらく is for a while. Thus I know that if I use もうしばらく終わる, it means “It’ll be over for a while”(After a while it will be starting again) Does もう+すぐ have any meaning of “for” as もう+しばらく have ?
    – Kiw
    Jan 25, 2019 at 1:35
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    @Kiw (with or without もう,) しばらく can be an adverb meaning "for a while", eg 「しばらくお待ちください」"Please wait for a while." しばらく can also be a noun meaning "a while", but cannot be an adverb meaning "in a while". To say "in/after a while" or "soon", you say 「(もう)しばらく終わる」or 「もうすぐ終わる」. (「すぐ」「もうすぐ 」 are adverbs meaning "very soon" "soon". 「すぐ終わる」「すぐに終わる」 would mean "will end very soon / quickly"). 「もうしばらく終わる」 doesn't really make sense. To say "It'll be over for a while (After a while it will be starting again)", I'd say しばらく休む.
    – chocolate
    Jan 25, 2019 at 1:54
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    @Kiw 「[duration]+で」 means "in/after~~". eg インスタントラーメンは3分でできる。Instant ramen cooks in 3 minutes. 5分で行きます。I will go in five minutes. (See this post), この本を3時間で読み終わった。 I finished reading this book in three hours. (See this post)
    – chocolate
    Jan 25, 2019 at 16:13

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