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English translation: What exactly do 「けれども」 and 「けど」 and 「けれど」 mean? They often use 「けれども」 on TV programs, but is 「けれども」 more polite than 「けれど」?

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My understanding is that this site is for English speakers learning Japanese. So while I felt that the original question was in simple enough Japanese to be good practice for learners of a certain level, we shouldn't exclude lower level learners who might also benefit from the question. Thus I edited the question to provide an English translation. I hope that is acceptable. – Questioner Jul 16 '11 at 3:50
@Dave Sounds good to me – Ken Li Jul 16 '11 at 5:55

けど is short for けれど, and hence, is colloquial and less polite. けれども has 'even' added somewhat redundantly. I don't see clear differences between けれど and けれども. The difference among the three may be parallel to the difference among English though, although, and even though. So if a native English speaker can tell the difference among them, it may be a clue for telling the difference for the Japanese words.

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The English examples you give here are perfectly interchangeable, just as けれども and its variants are (ignoring politeness levels). Also, けども does pop up occasionally, but the infrequency with which I hear it leads me to believe it is more dialectical than standard. – Derek Schaab Jul 15 '11 at 23:54
@sawa, @Derek: けど is short for けれど? Really? You guys just blew my mind. I never knew that. I always thought けど was it's own thing, and use it a lot, especially in the form だけど, or ですけど when connecting sentences (as in "this, but that"). Can I say ですけれど? Is だけれど silly because けれど is more formal than だ? – Questioner Jul 16 '11 at 3:46
@Dave M G: Yes. ですけど, ですけれど, and ですけれども are semantically equivalent, as are だけど, だけれど, and だけれども. The usual rule of "longer = more polite" applies. – Derek Schaab Jul 16 '11 at 14:31

The difference lies in how polite they are. The longer the word, the more polite it is.

The shorter a word, the more curt and impolite it is.

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so, "が" is very impolite? – Axioplase Jul 19 '11 at 1:58
@Axioplase: が, though it can mean the same thing as the けれども series, is a separate construction with only one form, and so it can be used in any (polite/informal/spoken/written) setting. "longer = more polite" applies most of the time, but not all the time. – Derek Schaab Jul 19 '11 at 13:27
@Derek: yes, I know. I was just cynically commenting the assertion about concision and politeness. – Axioplase Jul 20 '11 at 1:44
@Axioplase: Ah, I missed the </not-a-real-question> tag there. My bad. :) – Derek Schaab Jul 20 '11 at 12:20
Actually just putting か at the end of a sentence to turn it into a question is impolite if you don't lengthen it by other things behind it. – language hacker Jul 21 '11 at 1:17

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