There is a suffix -tatte/-datte that attaches to nouns, adjectives and verbs:

sensei datte = sensei de mo

hazukashikutatte = hazukashikute mo

yondatte = yonde mo

kitatte = kite mo

And the meaning is uniform across these categories, 'even'.

One explanation of what this -tatte/-datte is derived from, is that 'atte' is the -te form of 'aru', and this is being attached to the -te form of the copula, adjectives and verbs respectively, as above.

Japanese grammarians derive 'datte', as it attaches to nouns, as the copula plus 'tote':

sensei datte <- sensei [da + tote]

the vowel of the syllable 'to' being dropped.

This is not an unreasonable analysis, but how does the traditional approach handle the cases of adjective and verb forms with this '-tatte/-datte' ending?

  • There are also -youga and -youto which are also largely the same. “yondatte”, “yondemo”, “yomouga” and “yomouto” are all more or less the same in meaning and as far as I now completely interchangeable grammatically.
    – Zorf
    Oct 17, 2023 at 0:01
  • FYI. Not a grammar, but a taxonomy of usage is given hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/hermes/ir/re/8885/gengo0003400210.pdf
    – sundowner
    Oct 17, 2023 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


In a case of 求めよ、さらば与えられん, given the dearth of answers, we find this:

たって の解説

《過去の助動詞「た」の終止形に接続助詞「とて」の付いた「たとて」の音変化》動詞・形容詞、一部の助動詞の連用形に付く。ガ・ナ・バ・マ行の五段活用動詞に付く場合は「だって」となる。 (デジタル大辞泉

So -tatte/-datte attaches to the 連用形 of verbs, adjectives and certain 助動詞.

This certainly explains examples like 笑われたってかまわない and いくら捜したっているはずがない. And if you accept that 騒ぐ has two forms of the 連用形, 'sawagi' and 'sawai', then the analysis is again, valid, for example, いくら騒いだってどうにもならない (and similarly for ガ・ナ・バ・マ行の五段活用動詞).

The result is that in the meaning of 'even', we have -tatte, and two varieties of -datte, one which is the copula だ + とて -> だって, and another which arises from attaching たとて -> たって to (one form of) the 連用形 of ガ・ナ・バ・マ行の五段活用動詞, with the corresponding voicing た -> だ.


There seems to be a major flaw in the above explanation. which is apparent when you try to derive the adjective forms, e.g., hoshikutatte 欲しくたって etc.

From 欲しい, the 連用形 is 欲しく, so we attach the past tense morpheme (過去の助動詞「た」),

欲しく + た ➞ (?)欲しくた

(?)欲しくた + とて ➞ (?)欲しくたとて

(?)欲しくたとて ➞ 欲しくたって

This is quite at odds with the derivation of verb forms:

来る ➞ 来(き)

来 + た ➞ 来た

来た + とて ➞ 来たとて

来たとて ➞ 来たって

In no point of the derivation do we have illegal/impossible Japanese, and the analysis in 大辞泉 does imply that all intermediate forms are valid Japanese.

I consulted Martin's reference grammar and discovered he had noticed the same problem. In a note on page 940 where he has been discussing the approach of the Japanese grammarians, '... No-one seems to have considered the problem presented by the adjective form -kutatte.'

  • I must admit, that edit presents a much more pleasing aspect, for which, my thanks.
    – N. Hunt
    Oct 17, 2023 at 6:17
  • Hmm, I suspect that the Digital Daijisen wording is confusing things a bit. Granted, た functions as the modern past-tense marker, but that's not all it is. Calling it the 終止形 isn't helpful either, since this doesn't change form in modern speech. The NKD entry for た does a better job of explaining that this is from と + ある. From this, the NKD entry for たって makes more sense for the cases where it follows adjectives or nouns, or verbs in the 終止形. Oct 18, 2023 at 22:52
  • That link just takes me to kotobank, with the same (traditional) explanation as above. What is NKD?
    – N. Hunt
    Oct 18, 2023 at 23:39
  • I wanted to amend the previous comment: I see, so now it's a more elaborate structure which is abbreviated, といったって. It does say however that it attaches to 活用語の終止形 and since adjectives aren't specifically mentioned I assume they fall into this category, however, the 終止形 of 欲しい is 欲しい, which would yield (?)欲しいたって.
    – N. Hunt
    Oct 18, 2023 at 23:57
  • @EiríkrÚtlendi Where do you see the claim that "this is from と + ある"? My sources say that stative / past tense た is from たり / たる from + あり / ある. There is also a different たり / たる used with tari/taru-adjectives, and this is contraction of + あり / ある (this と is a copula; similarly to how nari/naru-adjectives use forms derived from に copula).
    – Arfrever
    Oct 19, 2023 at 0:37

Finally, to answer the question, the traditional explanations found in 国語文法 can't satisfactorily explain -tatte as attached to adjectives, as can be seen from the discussion in the comments.

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