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I'm really confused about the meanings of these two similar adjective inflections:
高い ---> 高くっても
高い ---> 高くとも  

難{むずか}しい ---> 難しくっても
難しい ---> 難しくとも  

"っても" might possibly be less formal(? because of the "っ"), but I known that there is a fundamental difference in meaning. And, I don't understand. What are some example usage sentences that contrast the meanings, as well as a good explanation in English? thanks.

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Are you sure you don't mean 難しくても and 難しくとも? –  Sjiveru Jan 24 '14 at 3:52
If you're totally unsure then it's almost certain that you're thinking of ても and not とも –  ssb Jan 24 '14 at 4:42
@kinyo sure, if you're aware that the two are different then it's another story. Is there any specific reason why you're comparing っても and とも though? (as opposed to っても and ても or とも and ても) –  ssb Jan 24 '14 at 4:57
@ssb At this point, I'm convinced I've got some conflation going on. I was not hearing the difference between "っても" and "ても". More about this later. –  ramsay Jan 24 '14 at 5:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The only difference is in the degree of formality expressed, not in the meaning as OP appears to have learned somewhere.

In the order of formality: 高くとも、高くても and 高くっても.

To speak of the meanings, there are TWO meanings in each form.

1) "Even though (something) is high, tall or expensive"

2) "At the highest, tallest, most expensive" It indicates the possible maximum height or price.

Example sentences:

1) 「Aブランドのラーメンはおいしいので、[高]{たか}くてもつい[買]{か}ってしまうね。」 つい = without meaning to

2) 「高くても[千円]{せんえん}[出]{だ}せばこの[町]{まち}のほとんどのレストランでお[昼]{ひる}が[食]{た}べられるよ。」 お昼 = lunch

EDIT: I think I now know what OP means by "fundamental difference in meaning". An older book or a strict grammarian might say that only とも should be used for meaning #2 above. In the real Japanese-speaking world of the 21st century, however, ても is probably used more often than とも in informal speech for #2.

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