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


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.

  • 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

2 Answers 2


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:


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:


were starting a futile attempt to hide

I would traslated the whole sentence as:


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.

  • 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

[A late answer but there seems to be some misunderstanding of this Japanese quotative construction.]

After a Volitional + と as in your example, you can assume 思って or 言って or the like, has been elided, so the basic meaning is '[thinking/saying that] they could hide themselves in an isolated place even slightly less susceptible to becoming a target, their effort was wasted.'

Such quotative constructions are very common, Samuel Martin's Reference Grammar of Japanese provides a thorough coverage.

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