第74課: The Particle でも
The Adverbial Particle でも
でも is like “even” and often lessens the tone of a sentence. In the latter case, it is seen in contexts where the speaker is often trying to make some sort of suggestion or offer to someone. Options are implied given the literal interpretation of “even”. This is meant to be less direct so one doesn’t sound pushy.
でも is simply the て形 of the copula with も. So, ～ても is very similar but with adjectives and verbs to mean “even though”. The negative form of this is ～なくても or ～ないでも, although the latter is uncommon and rather literary.
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Although there are situations where translation may change, the general purpose of these modals is to make a 逆接関係, which is Japanese terminology for a contradictory relationship. This should make sense in light of the translations above.
Particle Note: It is not used with particles such as が, を, and は, but it can be seen after other particles such as に, と, から, and まで. However, in slightly older Japanese, you can see combinations such as ～をでも. It is not advisable to use this as it is, again, not used anymore.
Origin Note: でも comes from the て form of だ + も.
Even the teacher doesn’t understand it.
Literally: Do you want to drink even (if it’s) tea?
Shall we drink tea or something?
There are children playing here and even over there.
What that person says isn’t all a lie.
He came again saying, “Please.”
6a. 彼が言わないでも、分かるでしょう。 (Usually don’t use)
6b. 彼が言わなくても、分かるでしょう。（More natural)
Even if he doesn’t say, you’ll probably understand.
I don’t care.
Literally: Whatever it is, it’s OK.
How about a coffee on me?
No matter what, I’m definitely going to go!
Even though it had been raining, I enjoyed the game.
In any case, I absolutely do not drink and drive.
Even I understand.
You can find ever so many such examples.
He is happy even though he is poor.
It doesn’t snow in Mexico even in the winter.
I couldn’t sit still.
Set Phrase Note: This last phrase literally means that one couldn’t even be sitting or standing. 居る originally meant “to sit”, and it is used in its original sense in this phrase.
何と言っても: Undeniably (lit. = no matter what they say)
No matter what you say, this song is the best.
Life is no doubt but the only important thing.
でいい is like “it’s all right/OK to”, でかまわない is like “I don’t care/mind if you”, and でさしつかえない is like “it won’t interfere if you”. All three generally represent the same thing, and their purpose is to show permission. でも can be used instead of で, and the inclusion of も makes the phrases less direct. でも may appear as ても as these are also て form speech modals.
Is it OK if it’s not new?
Do you mind if it’s a used vehicle?
Is it all right for me not to participate?
It’s all right not to worry.
May I use the bathroom?
Classroom Note: The above sentence is an essential classroom phrase.
Is it all right if the house is old?
Is a single room on the eleventh floor all right?
Anything will do.
No matter what you do, it won’t continue for another day.
This pattern is used to show that no matter what you do with whatever means necessary, you carry it out. The verb phrase that follows should be one that shows intention. This phrase is typically translated as “no matter if”, but let this not detract from the fact that what follows is a statement of what is/should be carried out rather than showing despair.
By all means do so no matter if you buy hardships in youth.
Proverb Note: This proverb says that hardships when you’re young become great experiences for the future, so it is best to seek them out.
No matter if you buy with money, it’s only best to have hardships when one is young.