The particle でも (
nevertheless. でも is one of the ways in Japanese to make a sentence less direct and more polite.
でも is also part of many grammatical expressions that take up its meaning of
but, such as:
In this post we learn more about the meaning of でも, how it is formed, and when でも is used through real example sentences.
でも: something like
When でも follows a noun it indicates that what is stated is only an example or a suggestion, and that there are other possibilities that can be considered.
Where do you want to go today?
Let's go see something like a movie.
This use of the でも particle is called 例示 (illustrate an example)
Shall we go for a coffee or something?
でも: in any case
When でも is added after nouns such as 誰 (
who), どこ (
where), 何 (
what), or いつ (
when) they take on a special meaning:
This usage of でも is the same as above (suggestion or example).
Any place is fine.
でも to say "but" or "however"
When でも is placed at the beginning of a sentence, it means
but what was said in the previous sentence. In this usage でも shows a sense of contrast:
We lost the game. But everyone gave their best!
でも to say "also"
Another translation of でも when placed at the beginning of a sentence is
besides. As we can see from the examples, in these cases でも is used to indicate that what is said in the first sentence is true, but also what is indicated in the second:
I like dogs. But I also like cats.
でも can also take the meaning of
not even, showing an extreme example of something:
Even the teacher doesn't know.
Difference between でも and けど
Both でも and けど can be translated as
but. However, there is a difference in meaning and nuance between the two:
- けど is used at the end of the sentence, and implies that the rest of the sentence has been omitted (usually because it is obvious or to avoid being too direct)
- でも instead is often found at the beginning of the sentence and is used to indicate contrast with what was previously said
Let's go shopping tomorrow.
But tomorrow is holiday.
Let's see how でも is added at the beginning of the sentence and translated as
but. In this case we want to indicate a sense of contrast with respect to what was previously said:
it's vacation, so you can't go.
でも relates to something that was said earlier. In these cases it is not possible to find でも without context.
Let's go shopping tomorrow.
Actually it would be vacation tomorrow...
けど instead appears at the end of the sentence. けど gives a sense that the end of the sentence has been omitted or not said directly, and that the sentence actually continues:
it would be holiday tomorrow, and that's why we can't go.
でも~でも: "or even"
Another expression that uses でも is でも~でも. This expression translates into
be it this or that or, negatively,
neither this nor that.
This or that is fine!
Specifically, this expression indicates:
- Positive sentence:
even if it is (A), even if it is (B), the result is (C)
- Negative sentence:
even if it is (A), even if it is (B), the result is not (C)
てでも: at any cost
When でも is preceded by the て form of the verb, the expression takes on the meaning of
doing one thing at any cost.
There are some secrets that I want to keep at all costs, even if the group breaks up.
This expression wants to underline the extreme desire to achieve a goal or perform an action, regardless of effort and obstacles.
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Examples of でも
I like fish. But I also like meat.
Even if it's coffee, I drink it.
I went to the library. But I didn't borrow any books.