Cure Dolly confusion? ちゃう・ちゃった

Hi! This is gonna be a pretty brief post.

Basically, I’m trying to get caught up on grammar and make sure I properly understand things, so I have been watching Cure Dolly’s lessons. I’ve got to lesson 44 and understood everything she says, but am now left confused by what she’s talking about in this video:

I understand the ‘textbook’ definitions of しまう (e.g. to do completely, to do something accidentally/something you regret, etc.), but I’m not quite sure what she’s trying to show by adding the word ‘done’ to sentences?

Maybe this is my fault, as I am listening to her sentences and not understanding it because it makes no grammatical sense in English, but we are supposed to be thinking in Japanese kinda when watching her stuff.

Could anybody possibly explain what she’s trying to express/what she’s trying to suggest しまう/ちゃった/じゃった means when she adds ‘done’ to the sentences?

Thank you!

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I guess you don’t have that kind of colloquial use of ‘done’ in your English dialect, or else your native language isn’t English at all.

Anyway, it seems to me a rather clunky attempt at a literal translation of てしまう into English. Sometimes it works when it matches an English idiom, and sometimes it sort of lines up with some dialect-ish uses of ‘done’, but mostly I think it just gets in the way, which is why you’re confused.

What you want here is to understand what てしまう is grammatically (an auxiliary verb whose base meaning as a standalone verb is ‘to finish, complete’), and to look at the various extended or more metaphorical meanings it has as an auxiliary and hopefully gain some vague idea of how they’re related to しまう rather than being a completely arbitrary collection. To the extent that your native language might have similar idioms or expressions with ‘done’ or an equivalent verb, there may be some helpful analogies, but that’s not critical.

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My guess is what she means by done is “I have done it completely”.
Like, the 忘れちゃった, I done forget is actually more of a “I have completely forgotten”.
My favorite example to understand the てしまう is :
Aーケーキはどこですか?(Where is the cake)
Bーあ… 食べちゃった (oh… I ate it all…)

In this example, B ate all the cate by themselves and it’s not exactly a good thing. Hence, the use of てしまう / ちゃう form here. This could also work very well in a situation your teacher asks you about your homework. You didn’t do it so you will likely reply a "忘れちゃった!”, like “I completely forgot them”.

Hope this can help you a little :slight_smile:

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Usually I try to look at it more colloquially as with the “now I’ve done it” expression which emphasizes the negative aspect of てしまう. Which is not always the case, because it can also mean just being finished with something like @pm215 explained.

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Some people do actually say “I done forgot X” – google has examples in twitter comments and rap lyrics. But unless you’re familiar with that English usage already then it’s useless as an analogy for the Japanese.

Edit: this stackexchange question says it’s Southern US English.

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I am not an English native so I didn’t know about this. Thanks for that, I learned something ^^

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The one from that region that more closely maps to しまう is actually plum/plumb

You know, Buck, I’d ‘a’ plum got him , first rattle, if I’d thought a minute.

But that’s probably even more confusing if you’re not familiar with it. :wink:

Edit: Actually, for an example of a Southern dialect, you can watch Forrest Gump.

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@pm215 My native language is English, but like you said, we don’t really have that use of ‘done’ in my area. I’ve heard it occasionally on American TV, but not often.

I think I’ll just do what you suggested, and look up some examples of metaphorical meanings it has as an auxiliary while trying to figure out for myself how they connect to しまう. Thank you for the advice! ^^

@PetiteChose thanks for the feedback too! I did consider what you said too, but I just feel that wouldn’t work with some of the examples Cure Dolly gave in the video, e.g. ‘I done turned into a superhero!’ = ‘I completely turned into a superhero!’ It makes sense, but just doesn’t sound quite right to me, I feel. And more importantly, I’m not sure it’s helping me grasp whatever implications/meanings しまう has in this case, as that sentence to me is no different to ‘I turned into a superhero!’

Sorry for the long response haha. Thank you very much for your comment though! It did help me with thinking about it

And yep, @alo, I have most certainly never heard of ‘plum/plumb’ in this context haha. Thank you for mentioning it though! I might take a look at it

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How about, “I went and turned into a superhero!”

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Yeah, one of the problems is that this usage of “done” doesn’t always have the same meaning of “competely” or “accidentally/unintentionally” that ちゃう・ちゃった do. Even the example I gave with plum/plumb only covers the “completely” nuance.

One thing that may help is to memorize a sentence with both nuances. Like:

この歌[1]の歌詞[2]を忘れちゃった[3]
I completely/unintentionally forgot the lyrics to this song

As silly as that video is, there’s some good stuff in there. It’s probably not a bad way to spend about half an hour listening to Japanese. :wink:

Edit: Again at the 7:26 mark, the last line of “If you’re happy and you know it” has:

嬉しいと気は全部しちゃおう

Which has the “completely” nuance with しちゃおう as the volitional form.


  1. うた, song ↩︎

  2. かし, lyrics ↩︎

  3. わすれる, to forget ↩︎

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A translator may very well choose not to translate the nuance. In verbal communication in English we would probably use tone of voice to communicate the sense of regret or finality or unintentionality that is more explicit in the Japanese sentence. Anyway you already understand this sentence pattern. Now it’s just a matter of living and breathing it. :slightly_smiling_face:

A possible example to help hear what adding “done” sounds like.

I wouldn’t over think this. She’s just trying to connect the two meanings of しまう, in a way that makes sense to english speakers, if it doesn’t make sense, drop it and move on.

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I’m glad someone shared that example, because that’s all I can think of every time. :laughing:

The area I grew up in tended to use “plum/plumb”, but it wasn’t unusual to hear the example in that video. Though usually, I instead of you. :stuck_out_tongue:

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This use of done is totally America based. You’d only understand her use of done in these sentences if you grew up here. You have to say these sentences in a horrible white trash American accent. “I done” works with any sentence in the right accent. “I done turned into a superhero”, sounds like “what a surprise.” similar to the Japanese.

Its meaning can be, really, truly, regrettably, it can be anything, just like しまう.

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I always think of it as “I ate it without thinking” whether that’s not thinking about it entirely or not thinking past the action e.g… you should have shared the food.

Like most grammar forms there’s never a perfect English example but the ‘~without thinking’ or ‘~it cant be helped’ nuance works most of the time for me.

彼もう出た -He already left.
彼もう出ちゃった -He already left, it cant be helped. (dictionaries wont translate to this, but this is the feeling that’s being conveyed)

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Irrelevant to the thread, but you know people from other countries can watch American media, right?

Of course. I was commenting of the fact that he said he’s British and doesn’t understand. He himself said he’s heard it occasionally on American TV.

However, This grammar isn’t part of a standard “media” accent. A main character in American media isn’t going to use this sentence structure, because it’s low class slang (and main characters almost always use the middle class accent). In media it would usually be used comedically. So, in my opinion, this is not an easy grammar point to truly grasp outside of America. But if someone picks it up good for them, but again I was commenting on his lack of picking it up, and commenting on why it’s totally understandable.

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