375 - ~たところで

Rejoice, pessimists.

Because today's grammar point will allow you to express your many negative predictions about, well, just about everything.

Let's start with an example, then work from there:

テストの前日にあわてて勉強を始めたところで、いい点数は取れないだろう。
テスト の ぜんじつ に あわてて べんきょう を はじめた ところで、 いい てんすう は とれない だろう。
Even if you rush to start studying the day before the test, you won't be able to get a good score.
Literally: "test + の + the day before + に + be in a rush (and) + studies + を + started + ところで, + good + score + は + can't take + だろう."

Now, to business.


JLPT N1: ~たところで (even if; supposing; no matter [if])

We use this grammar construction when we want to explain that a certain action or situation will not produce desirable results.

Generally speaking, we can translate it as:

Even if A, B.

...where B is an unsatisfactory result occurring after A. In Japanese that's:

A ところで, B.

...where the final VERB in A is in plain past tense form. Note also that sentence B will never be in the past tense.

Even if you start studying, you won't get a good score.
Started studying ところで, you won't get a good score.


Construction of these types of sentences isn't too hard.

It's just:

V たところで

In this lesson we'll see these verbs used:

始める(はじめる // to begin; to start
飲む(のむ // to drink
謝る(あやまる // to apologize
努力する(どりょくする // to make an effort; to work hard
読む(よむ // to read
気を付ける(きをつける // to be careful; to watch out for

Accordingly, we'll put them in past tense:

始めた(はじめた
飲んだ(のんだ
謝った(あやまった
努力した(どりょくした
読んだ(よんだ
気を付けた(きをつけた

Then we'll add ところで:

V たところで

始めたところで
飲んだところで
謝ったところで
努力したところで
読んだところで
気を付けたところで

even if (you / I) started / drank / apologized / made an effort / read / were careful about


いくら大量のサプリメントを飲んだところで、あんなに不摂生な生活をしていたら健康になれるはずがない。
いくら たいりょう の サプリメント を のんだ ところで、 あんな に ふせっせい な せいかつ を していたら けんこう に なれる はずがない。
No matter how many supplements he takes, if he's living such an unhealthy lifestyle, he can't become healthy.
Literally: "how much + large quantity of + の + supplements + を + drank + ところで, + that much + neglecting one's health + な + lifestyle + を + if (one) is doing + health + に + can become + definitely not (=should [be] + が + there is not)."

As in the example above, this type of sentence often makes use of "how much," "how many," or other numerical classifiers.

Specifically, we'll see:

いくら(how much
どんなに(how much; to what extent

何回(なんかい // how many times
何冊(なんさつ // how many [books]

When we take our ~たところで verbs, which mean something like "even if VERB-ed," and then add a word like "how much," then we get something like "even if + how much..." which in normal English can get translated to something like "no matter how much."

Check the following examples to see what I mean...


彼が負った心の傷を考えると、わたしが何回謝ったところで、許してくれないだろう。
かれ が おった こころ の きず を かんがえると、 わたし が なんかい あやまった ところで、 ゆるして くれない だろう。
Considering the emotional suffering he went through, no matter how many times I apologized to him, I doubt he would forgive me.
Literally: "he + が + carrying / shouldering + heart + の + injury + を + think about + と, + I + が + how many times + apologized + ところで, + forgive (and) + won't give (me) + だろう."


どんなに努力したところで、生まれながらの天才にはかなわないと思う。
どんなに どりょく した ところで、 うまれながら の てんさい に は かなわない と おもう。
No matter how hard one works, I don't think one can ever be good as a natural-born genius.
Literally: "how much + effort / hard work + did + ところで, + naturally (born as/with) + の + genius + には + cannot be a match for + と + (I) think."


参考書を何冊読んだところで、練習をしなければ、スケートが滑れるようにはならない。
さんこうしょ を なんさつ よんだ ところで、 れんしゅう を しなければ、 スケート が すべれる ように は ならない。
It doesn't matter how many books you read about it, unless you practice, you'll never be able to ice skate.
Literally: "reference book + を + how many books + read + ところで, + practice + を + if you don't do, + skating + が + can slide + ように + は + won't become."


天災はいくら気を付けたところで、避けられるものではない。
てんさい は いくら きをつけた ところで、 さけられる もの ではない。
No matter how careful you are about natural disasters, they're not something that you can (completely) avoid.
Literally: "natural disaster + は + how much + were careful about / watched out for + ところで, + can evade + thing + is not (=ではない)."

That's all for this one!

Did you read all of the sentences? If so, you're doing far more than most students, and I congratulate and thank you.

Actually, just by opening this email you're doing more than most students. So props!

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