This line is from the lyrics of a song called TSUNAMI


I had to look up the dictionary to understand what ど does in that line, and found an entry with this example.


If I understood correctly, 呼べど=呼んでも and 捜せど=捜しても; and ど is linked to the ば-form.

Then shouldn't 止めど流る be 止めれど流る because we say 止めれば, but I'm not sure because 流る and 燃ゆる is already not following modern grammar, and maybe also for 止めど.

Is classical grammar applied to 止めど, or is the author using some poetic license to match the number of moras?

  • 1
    Adding to the existing answer, as you guess, here 止めれど is the correct usage since a transitive verb is expected.
    – sundowner
    Jul 28 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


I would say that this とめど is "grammatically incorrect". Strictly speaking, it should be とめど, as you suggested. However, since most people are not good at classical grammar, such mistakes are not uncommon even in lyrics written by famous artists. They are hardly noticed by ordinary native speakers.

This page has an interesting hypothesis as to why such a mistake occurred in this song:


In modern Japanese, we have an i-adjective とめどない ("endless"). This is actually a shortened form of とめどころない (どころ = "place") and has nothing to do with the conjunctive auxiliary ど. However, the existence of this word may have led him to think that とめど was the correct conjugation of とめる. Personally, I had to spend quite a few minutes rechecking dictionaries and grammar rules before concluding that this とめど was a "mistake". It's because I was somehow more familiar with the とめど sound itself than with とめれど.

Historically, とめる (transitive "to stop") has several classical variants, but none of them will conjugate to とめど, anyway.

  • とめる (modern, ichidan) → とめれど
  • とどむ (classic, nidan) → とどむれど
  • とむ (classic, nidan) → とむれど

By the way, this is not the only "mistake" in the lyrics. ながる is a classical version of the modern ながれる, but when it is used to modify a noun (in this case, 清か水), we must use its attributive form, which is ながるる. In the next line, however, he employed another archaic verb もゆ and correctly conjugated it to もゆる to modify a noun (魔性の火).

This probably means that he knew the basic grammatical rule, but deliberately ignored it in the first line to fit the metrics of the song. That is, he wanted the two lines to share the same rhythm:

とめど  ながる  さ や かみず  よ 
けせど  もゆる  ましょうのひ  よ

While とめどながる might be "wrong" and とめれどながるる might be correct, almost no one notices or dares to point out minor grammatical problems with archaic expressions that appear in pop songs.

  • 清か in this song is さやか, not きよか which does not appear in my dictionaries. (I know that unrelated adjective 清い = きよい exists.)
    – Arfrever
    Jul 29 at 6:01
  • @Arfrever Thanks, fixed. The さや reading is not so rare in names (清香 is a valid kanji pair for a girl's name さやか), but I don't know how it's used in old prose.
    – naruto
    Jul 29 at 6:08

One of pseudo-forms of verbs is 未然形{みぜんけい}, called Irrealis in Wiktionary, called a- stem by Frellesvig (2010).

One of finite forms of verbs is 已然形{いぜんけい}, called Realis in Wiktionary, called Exclamatory by Frellesvig (2010), called Evidential by Vovin (2020).

Form with suffix 〜ば added to 未然形{みぜんけい} in Old/Middle/Classical Japanese is called "Conditional conjunction" in Wiktionary, called Conditional by Frellesvig (2010), called Conditional Converb by Vovin (2020).

Form with suffix 〜ば added to 已然形{いぜんけい} in Old/Middle/Classical Japanese is called "Causal conjunction" in Wiktionary, called Provisional by Frellesvig (2010), called Conjunctive Converb by Vovin (2020).

Form with suffix 〜ど added to 已然形{いぜんけい} is called "Contrasting conjunction" in Wiktionary, called Concessive by Frellesvig (2010), called Concessive Converb by Vovin (2020).

Frellesvig (2010, pages 53, 55, 57, 133):

The following summarizes main functions of each category and gives for reference the forms of the verb sin- 'dies'.


Exclamatory (sinure) This form is mainly used to form the predicate of an exclamative main clause, sometimes on its own, but often in correlation with the focus particle koso (see 8.9.2). The exclamatory can also function as the predicate in a subordinate clause, often translated with one of a number of conjunctional meanings: 'if, when, although, because'. Usually it is accompanied by some modal or other particle. It also functions as a combining stem, selected by some suffixes, see 3.4.4.


Conditional (sinaba) The conditional concludes a conditional subordinate clause 'if'.

Provisional (sinureba) The provisional concludes a provisional, temporal, or causal subordinate clause, most of which can be rendered by English 'as'.

Concessive (sinuredo) The concessive concludes a concessive subordinate clause 'although, even though'; the concessive is often followed by the particle mo with no discernible difference in meaning.


3.7.4 Conjunctional particles

Conjunctional particles follow finite verb forms to form subordinate clauses: (...) to (a) concessive '(even) if, although' (in this use, often followed by mo: tomo; cf. here the etymologically related concessive formant -do(mo)), (b) purposive 'in order to, (so) that';

Vovin (2020, pages 572, 574, 672): Evidential -ure ~ -e ~ -re

The evidential suffix’s main allomorph is -ure, which is found after all vowel verbs (except strong vowel verbs, where it becomes just -re), and all irregular verbs (except r-irregular verbs). After all consonant verbs and r-irregular verbs the allomorph ~ -e- is used, according to the morphonological rule of -r- loss mentioned in chapter 2, section 2.5.4.


The evidential is used by itself as a final form. In most cases it appears when the particle kǝsǝ precedes it in the sentence, replacing the final predication suffix. (...) Nevertheless, in contrast to Middle Japanese, where koso always triggers the change of the final predication form to the evidential, there are many cases in Western Old Japanese when the evidential can be used as a final predication form without the preceding kǝsǝ.

Although it is difficult to say exactly what the evidential form means, I believe that used in isolation, its function is close to that of the exclamation point in English; in any case, it obviously indicates some kind of emphatic statement. The fact that it is used together with kǝsǝ, a strong emphatic particle, further supports this proposal. I call it evidential because frequently it emphasizes fact(s) that should be evident to the speaker or his/her addressee. Otherwise, the evidential is usually followed by the conjunctive converb -mba or the concessive converb -n/-ndǝmǝ, usages that I survey below in the sections dedicated to them.

... Concessive Converb -ndǝ[mǝ]

The concessive converb -ndǝ[mǝ] has just one allomorph, but it has two variants: -n and -ndǝmǝ with no overt functional difference. The former appears to be its original form and the latter in all likelihood represents historically a combination of -n with the following emphatic particle . The concessive converb -ndǝ[mǝ] always follows the evidential form of a verb. In a diachronic perspective this probably means that it was once a bound noun that became a converb suffix through the process of grammaticalization, although we can no longer recover the exact meaning of this bound noun.


The concessive converb -ndǝ[mǝ] is probably the most versatile converb since the evidential form it follows immediately can be preceded by more suffixes and bound auxiliaries than any other converb. In contrast to the conjunctive converb that cannot combine with any evidential forms of mood markers and to the conditional converb that can combine only with the subjunctive mood suffix, the concessive converb can combine with both tentative mood markers, but does not combine with the subjunctive mood suffix.

The concessive converb -ndǝ[mǝ] has only one function: introducing a concessive clause

Example of some conjugated forms of 2 verbs in Old Japanese:

  • intransitive consonant-stem (四段) verb 止む{やむ} ("to stop (itself)")
  • transitive weak-vowel-stem (二段) verb 止む{やむ} (which is ancestor of modern transitive strong-vowel-stem (一段) verb 止める{やめる})
Consonant-stem verb Weak-vowel-stem verb
Stem yam- yame-
終止形 / Terminal / Conclusive yamu (止む / やむ) (→ modern yamu (止む / やむ)) yamu (止む / やむ) (→ modern yameru (止む / やむ))
連体形 / Attributive / Adnominal yamu (止む / やむ) (→ modern yamu (止む / やむ)) yamuru (止むる / やむる) (→ modern yameru (止む / やむ))
未然形 / Irrealis / a- stem yama- (止ま / やま) (→ modern yama- (止ま / やま)) yame- (止め / やめ) (→ modern yame- (止め / やめ))
Conditional yamamba (止まば / やまば) yamemba (止めば / やめば)
已然形 / Realis / Exclamatory yame (止め / やめ) yamure (止むれ / やむれ)
Provisional yamemba (止めば / やめば) (→ modern yameba (止めば / やめば)) yamuremba (止むれば / やむれば) (→ modern yamereba (止めれば / やめれば))
Concessive yamendǝ (止めど / やめど) yamurendǝ (止むれど / やむれど)

In Early Middle Japanese, vowels (w)o and ǝ merged into o.

In Late Middle Japanese, 已然形{いぜんけい}/Realis/Exclamatory was lost as independent, distinct word form, but remained for formation of derived forms (only -ba / 〜ば in Modern Japanese).

Provisional has taken conditional function.

In Modern Japanese, the only remnant of Concessive ど is in conjunction/particle けれども (informal variants: けれど, けども, けど), whose けれ part is 已然形{いぜんけい}/Realis/Exclamatory of unknown source (see some theories in Etymology section here).

That song currently uses 止めど{やめど} form of intransitive verb 止む{やむ}, but for semantics to make more sense here, it should use 止むれど{やむれど} form of transitive verb 止む{やむ}.

That song currently uses 止めど{とめど}, which is incorrect, as explained in naruto's answer.

Additionally 流る{ながる}, which is 終止形{しゅうしけい}/Terminal/Conclusive form, should be changed to 連体形{れんたいけい}/Attributive/Adnominal form 流るる{ながるる}.


Bjarke Frellesvig 2010 "A History of the Japanese Language"

Alexander Vovin 2020 "A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese"

  • Good extensive breakdown. Jul 28 at 22:50
  • The verb used in the song is not やむ. That's why OP asked this question. OP already understands 呼べど and 探せど. (Besides, 水をやめる/水がやむ make no sense in this context, and this reading can be rejected without watching the video.)
    – naruto
    Jul 29 at 4:08
  • 1
    @naruto I updated answer, but I have kept table with やむ since it is good for comparison.
    – Arfrever
    Jul 29 at 6:24

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