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I don't get what 少しでも and と mean in this sentence (from a manga) :

人々の多くは少しでもターゲットになりにくそうな僻地に身を隠そうとムダな努力を始めていた。

I remember reading that the conditional と couldn't be use with the volitional form so I guess it relates to 始める, but I have no idea what AとBを始める would mean...

My guess as to a translation (eluding 少しでも):

Many people started to make useless efforts to hide in remote places that looked like they couldn't easily become targets.

Thanks for your time.

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  • Although the below is correct, I would translate it like this because it sounds like more natural English: "Because it seemed like they would be targeted less, even by a little, people started to make the useless effort of hiding in remote places." Apr 19, 2014 at 12:24

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I think 少しでも is 少し + でも meaning "even if a little". In this sentence, it would apply to how the hiding place would make it hard to become a target. Translating quite literally:

少しでもターゲットになりにくそうな僻地

remote places which seemed like making it harder to become targets, even if by a little

As for と, I'm not completely sure but it may mean "attempt to do". See the answer to this question Volitional + と + Verb. In this case the translation for the second part could be:

身を隠そうとムダな努力を始めていた

were starting a futile attempt to hide

I would traslated the whole sentence as:

人々の多くは少しでもターゲットになりにくそうな僻地に身を隠そうとムダな努力を始めていた。

Many people were starting a futile attempt to hide in remote places which seemed like making it harder to become targets, even if by a little.

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  • Oh thanks a lot, I did know about ~ようとする but I thought it was a fixed construction and didn't know する could be replaced by any verb.
    – Alox
    Apr 19, 2014 at 9:32

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