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Another sentence from my JLPT practise book, this time in a section explaining the use of ものを.

借金{しゃっきん}で困{こま}っていた友人{ゆうじん}を、助{たす}けようと思{おも}えば助{たす}けられたものを、見捨{みす}ててしまった。

I think this sentence is saying, "My friend who was having debt problems / if I had thought about helping I could have helped / but I forgot about it."

If I'm on the right track in the meaning, then I'm not sure what ものを is bringing to the party here.

Is this sentence equivalent:

借金{しゃっきん}で困{こま}っていた友人{ゆうじん}を、助{たす}けようと思{おも}えば助{たす}けられたけど、見捨{みす}ててしまった。

If so, what extra meaning does ものを have that would make one choose to use it over けど?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

~ものを (sense [1]-1 in Daijisen) is similar to ~けど, but using ~ものを signifies the unsatisfactory feeling of the speaker. In your example, I think that using ~ものを instead of ~けど expresses the regret of the speaker.

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Just to be clear, if the sentence used けど instead, it would still be perfectly grammatical? I just want to be sure that strictly the only difference is the sense of disappointment. –  Dave M G Nov 25 '11 at 4:10
    
@DaveMG: It is grammatical. But けど is slightly informal. けれど or けれども has the formality corresponding to ものを, and in these cases, I think that the only difference is the sense of dissatisfaction or disappointment. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 25 '11 at 4:22
    
Thanks for clearing up the level of formality. –  Dave M G Nov 25 '11 at 4:25
    
Sorry, one more question... is ものを used in spoken Japanese, or is ot more confined to written Japanese? –  Dave M G Nov 25 '11 at 4:26
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@DaveMG: It is used both in speech and in writing, but I think that it is a little too formal to use casually. Others may have different opinions. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 25 '11 at 4:28
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