In this post I’d like to go over a few days to express the idea of “again” in Japanese language, keeping in mind the particular nuance of each.
1) “また” is a simple way to say “again”, and is pretty well known by even beginning Japanese learners due to some common expressions it is used in:
- またね (see you again)
- また明日 (see you tomorrow)
- また今度 (see you later)
These are sometimes prefixed by “じゃ” which translates to something like “Well…”.
You can use また in sentences to mean “again”, but sometimes this word can have a negative connotation and isn’t particularly polite.
- You did it again?
また or または can also be used to mean “also” in more formal Japanese.
2) If you’re speaking polite Japanese or you want to use a slightly more formal expression, you can say “改めて” (あらためて) which comes from the verb 改める, meaning “to renew or change”.
- I’ll introduce myself again.
3) “もう一回” literally means “one more time” and can be used in the same sense as “again”. This word doesn’t have the rough connotation of また and is a little safer for general use.
- Say that again please.
- Let’s practice once more from the beginning.
You can replace もう一回 with もう一度 without any change in meaning.
4) You can also express the idea of “again” with the suffix “〜直す” (〜なおす). You simply add this word after the pre-masu form (i.e. “ね” for the verb “ねる”).
” 直す” literally means “to fix”, and accordingly this grammatical construction has the connotation of fixing something. For beginner students I would recommend just sticking to some of the more common forms and eventually experimenting with this suffix on other words once you get comfortable hearing it.
- 寝直す (go back to sleep)
- やり直す (redo)
- 言い直す (restate, correct)
- 考え直す (rethink)
- 読み直す (read again, re-read)
One mistake I’ve made is to say something like the following:
- I’d like to watch this movie once more. [incorrect]
The Japanese sentence isn’t technically incorrect but the English translation is. A better translation would be:
- I’d like to rewatch this movie once more.
Now you can see this implies watching the movie at least for a 3rd time, which is not my intention. I should have said one of these phrases:
5) 再, pronounced さい, is a prefix which means ‘again’. However I have only seen it used with a few words, for example:
- 再挑戦 – challenge again
- 再確認 – recycle
- 再利用 – recycle (“use again”)
6) If you want to use “again” in a negative sense, as in “I’ll never ~ again”, you can use this pattern:
- もう + [verb in negative tense]
- I’ll never ride a boat again.
You can add 二度と after もう if you want to make a stronger statement.
For #5, sometimes I see that Kanji used not as a prefix, but just as a word (再び / futatabi) to mean again. Like, the example I saw was 再び日本に行った meaning “I went to Japan again.” But I’ve only really ever seen it used in sentences with 行く.
Do you know if it is uncommon to use 再び for “again”?
I think the word 再び is not used that commonly, and when it is, it has a ‘literary’ connotation (文語). I did a quick search and found a post that confirms that hunch:
Thank you, this was quite helpful!
How would I say something like “I’m sick again”, with emphasis on again? また病気になってしまった???
Yes, what you said is a good way to express it. You could also abbreviate as また病気になっちゃった.
If you were trying to express frustration over someone else being sick you could say ”また病気かよ”.
The word 再発 means “reoccurrence” of a certain medical condition, you might be able to use this word to in some cases.