394 - といっても

I like today's grammar point because it translates very nicely into English.

JLPT N3: といっても (may be..., but)

We use といっても to express that what may be expected is different in reality.

Here's what a similar phrase looks like in English:

[Something] may be X, but it's also Y.

For example, phrases like this:

I may be American, but I haven't lived in America for many years.
It may be expensive, but it's still affordable.
His book may be popular in Japan, but most people in other countries have never heard of it.

In other words, X is a conceded fact. Then Y is a second fact that is surprising or unexpected.

In Japanese, the construction is:

X といっても Y.

In the above sentences, that would look like:

I am American といっても I haven't lived in America for many years.
It is expensive といっても it's still affordable.
His book is popular in Japan といっても most people in other countries have never heard of it.


Ready for your first real example?

First, let's look at the words that appear in our first example:

わたしたち(we
双子(ふたご // twins
二卵性(にらんせい // fraternal [twins]
(な)ので(because
全然(ぜんぜん // [not] at all
似る*(にる // to be similar

*You'll usually see the verb 似る with an auxiliary verb attached: 似ている.

OK. Think you can guess what our first example is going to be about?


わたしたちは双子といっても二卵性なので全然似ていないんです。
わたしたち は ふたご といっても にらんせい なので ぜんぜん にていない んです。
We may be twins, but since we're fraternal twins, we don't look alike at all.
Literally: "we + は + twins + といっても + fraternal (twins) + なので (=because) + (not) at all + are not similar + んです."

So in this case, X is "we are twins," and Y is "since we're fraternal twins, we don't look alike at all."

We are twins といっても since we're fraternal twins, we don't look alike at all.


Construction of phrases with といっても is nice and straightforward:

The word directly before といっても will be a verb or copula (e.g. だ) in plain form, an adjective in plain form, or a noun.

Specifically, in this lesson we have:

双子ふたご // twins
双子といっても
...may be twins, but...

高いたかい // high; expensive
高いといっても
...may be high, but...

持っているもっている // to be holding
持っているといっても
...may be holding, but...

走れるはしれる // to be able to run
走れるといっても
...may be able to run, but...

Xto be X
Xといっても
...may be X, but...

With that, it's time for Example Rush!


東京の生活費は高いといってもニューヨークやパリ、ロンドンほどではない。
とうきょう の せいかつひ は たかい といっても ニューヨーク や パリ、 ロンドン ほど ではない。
The cost of living may be high in Tokyo, but it's not as high as in places like New York, Paris, or London.
Literally: "Tokyo + の + cost of living + は + high + といっても + New York + や + Paris, + London + ほど (=as much as) + is not."


ゴールド免許を持っているといっても、ほとんど運転したことがないだけです。
ゴールドめんきょ を もっている といっても、 ほとんど うんてん した こと が ない だけ です。
I may have a Gold License, but it's just because I almost never drive.
Literally: "Gold License + を + am holding + といっても, + for the most part + haven't driven (=driving + did + thing + が + there is not) + only + です."
Note: A "Gold License" is given to people in Japan that have excellent driving records (e.g. no accidents or traffic violations for several years). The license itself has a line that is highlighted in gold.

A Gold License:


チーターは速く走れるといっても持久力が無いので、狩りの成功率は割に低い。
チーター は はやく はしれる といっても じきゅうりょく が ない ので、 かり の せいこうりつ は わりに ひくい。
Cheetahs may be able to run fast, but they don't have much stamina, so their rate of success at hunting is relatively low.
Literally: "cheetah + は + quickly + can run + といっても + endurance / stamina + が + don't have + ので, + hunting + の + success rate + は + comparatively / relatively + low."


英語は世界共通語といっても、実際に英語を話すのは世界中で4人に1人だそうだ。
えいご は せかい きょうつうご だ といっても、 じっさい に えいご を はなす の は せかいじゅう で よにん に ひとり だ そうだ。
English may be the global language, but in reality only 1 in 4 people in the world are said to speak English.
Literally: "English + は + world + common language + だ + といっても, + in reality + に + English + を + speak + のは + in the world + で + four people + に + one person + だ + そうだ (=hearsay marker)."

That's all for this one!

Happy studies, yo.




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