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What's the usage and the meaning of まま in this sentence?

彼の本はずいぶん前に読んだままなので、内容のほとんどは忘れてしまった。

I think the meaning is something like

"It's been a long time since I read his book, that's why I forgot most of the content".

I only know まま as in "two things happening at the same time". Can somebody provide me with some examples?

1 Answer 1

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This まま describes a lack of change of some state. In this sentence, this まま expresses that nothing has happened regarding the book after you first read it long ago.

The primary particle to describe "two things happening at the same time" is ながら. For example, the following sentences are roughly the same:

  • 立ちながら話す "to chat while standing"
  • 立ったまま話す "to chat while standing"

But you cannot use まま in the following case:

  • 食べながら話す "to chat while eating"
  • [×] 食べたまま話す (wrong)

This is because 立つ is an instant state change verb, and when you say 立ったまま話す, 立つ actually happened before 話す. That is, you stood up, and while that "standing" status is present, you chat. But when you say 食べながら話す, the two actions are happening truly simultaneously, so you have to use ながら.

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