408 - たとえ~ても

JLPT N3: たとえ~ても

One thing that isn't so awesome about being good at Japanese is that now Japanese people feel comfortable making fun of the mistakes that I make in Japanese.

When I was at a lower level, I think my Japanese was so pathetic that Japanese people felt bad making fun of my mistakes. Well, also I probably was making too many mistakes to even attempt to point them all out.

Once you attain that elusive, vague label of "fluency," though, some people will start making fun of you. Or at the very least, pointing out your dumb mistakes.

A common mistake that I keep repeating is using the word たとえ instead of 例えば (たとえば).

Maybe I'm just lazy, but I want to always say the nice, short たとえ... but that has a different meaning than 例えば (たとえば // for example)!

The closest English equivalents of たとえ (with no ば!) would be something like "even if" or "supposing."

There is also a grammatical rule that we must observe when using たとえ: It must be followed by ~ても.


It's difficult to translate ~ても in isolation, but generally speaking it is a verb ending that means something like "even if ~." A couple of examples:

Word
Word in form
Word in ても form

成功する(せいこうする // to succeed
成功してせいこうして // succeed [and]
成功ても(せいこうしても // even if [one] succeeds

良い(よい・いい // good
良くてよくて // good [and]
良くてもよくても // even if [something is] good

Note that we use でも (not ~ても) after nouns and na-adjectives:

面倒(めんどう // a hassle; bothersome
面倒めんどうで // a hassle [and]
面倒でもめんどうでも // even if [something is] a hassle

家族(かぞく // family
家族かぞくで // family [and]
家族でもかぞくでも // even if [someone is] family


If those ~ても words mean "even if ~" all by themselves, then why do we need たとえ...?

Don't ask me. But we use it sometimes:

成功せいこうしても // even if [one] succeeds
たとえ... 成功せいこうしても // even if [one] succeeds

良くよくても // even if [something is] good
たとえ... 良くよくても // even if [something is] good

面倒めんどうでも // even if [something is] a hassle
たとえ... 面倒めんどうでも // even if [something is] a hassle

家族かぞくでも // even if [someone is] family
たとえ... 家族かぞくでも // even if [someone is] family

Maybe we use both たとえ and ~ても just because it's nice to make it clear at the beginning of a sentence where things are going? Or just to emphasize the hypothetical result we would like to bring up.

I'm not sure.


Anyways, first example:

たとえ手術が成功、完治する可能性は10%以下です。
たとえ しゅじゅつ が せいこう しても、 かんち する かのうせい は じゅっ パーセント いか です。
Even if the surgery is successful, the likelihood of you recovering completely is under 10%.
Literally: “even if + surgery + が + success + even if does, + complete recovery + do + possibility + は + 10% + less than + です.”

That literal translation is whack, yeah? It has "even if" twice! But I'm not sure how else I could translate both たとえ and ~ても. I guess I could have used "supposing" and "even if (does)." Either way, you get it, right? (Pretend you get it.)

So we have:

Even if X happens, Y will happen regardless.
たとえ X happens ~てもY will happen.
たとえ the surgery succeeds ~てもthe likelihood of you recovering completely is low.
たとえ手術が成功しても完治する可能性は10%以下です

Hopefully that makes sense. ^_^


More examples, of course:


たとえ見た目や頭が良く、意地悪な人とは付き合いたくない。
たとえ みため や あたま が よくても、 いじわるな ひと と は つきあいたくない。
Even if someone is good-looking or intelligent, I don’t want to go out with them if they’re not kind to others.
Literally: “even if + looks / appearance + や + head + が + even if good, + malicious / mean + person + とは + don’t want to be with.”

たとえ面倒、毎朝のジョギングは死ぬまで続けるつもりだ。
たとえ めんどう でも、 まいあさ の ジョギング は しぬ まで つづける つもり だ。
Even if it’s a hassle, I plan to keep jogging every morning until the day I die.
Literally: “even if + hassle / bothersome + even if, + every morning + の + jogging + は + die + until + continue + intend to + だ.”

たとえあなたが私の家族、借金の保証人にはなれません。
たとえ あなた が わたし の かぞく でも、 しゃっきん の ほしょうにん に は なれません。
Even if you were one of my family members, I still couldn’t be a guarantor for your debt.
Literally: “even if + you + が + I + の + family + even if, + debt / borrowed money + の + guarantor + には + can’t become.”
Note: In other words, Sorry, dude. I can't cosign your loan.


That's all for this one!

Oh, by the way, we had some really useful vocabulary in the sentences above. Maybe go back and make sure you know these words?




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