まず (mazu) Meaning Japanese Grammar - First

Author Anna Baffa Volpe for article 'まず (mazu) Meaning Japanese Grammar - First'

Anna Baffa Volpe

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まず (mazu) Meaning Japanese Grammar - First

The adverb まず (mazu) means first of all, firstly, to begin with, before anything else and also for now, anyway depending on the situation in which it is used.

In this post, we learn and review the meaning of まず and when it is used through everyday phrases.

We also analyze the subtle difference between まず and まずは.

How and when to use まず

まず is used to express an action that should be done in priority to others. It is used to communicate what should be done first.


Before starting the meeting, first let's check the agenda.

Position of まず in the sentence

まず is an adverb and can be found either at the beginning of a sentence or in a central position between two sentences.

Its transcription in Kanji is ()ず and as we can see it refers to something preceding, occurring before.



That problem must be solved first.


You have to talk to your boss first.


Let's decide together where to go first.

Phrase 1 or Expression+まず+Phrase 2


When I get home, I take a bath first, then prepare dinner.

In the previous sentence we have found the suffix たら, one of the conditional forms in Japanese with a temporal value expressed with the conjunction when.


First and foremost, we must be healthy.

まず as a synonym for とりあえず

まず is often used as a synonym for:

  • とりあえず: for now, in the meantime, first of all


For now, I'm relieved.


Let's relax for a bit.

Difference between まず and まずは

Both まず and まずは contain the Kanji 先 meaning before, previous. However, there are subtle differences between the two terms.

まず is used to suggest to someone to do something first, but it is not a strong indication.

For example, we might suggest to someone:


First, let's do this.

まずは is a stronger form of まず. It is used to indicate that something is particularly important or necessary to do first.

For example:


First, let's solve this problem.

With this phrase we say that it is important to solve the problem before doing anything else.

  • まず first, first of all
  • まずは first of all, it's better to do this


We can't start anything without first ensuring safety.

Other examples of まず


When you have a meal, wash your hands first and then eat.


If you want to lose weight, first stop eating snacks.

You read this first. Then read this line.
(つぎ)に: next, and then


You read this first. Then read this line.


Let's start from page 1 of the instructions.