I've seen this phrase used a few times and i don't think I get it. What meaning does the "ては" indicate? Here are examples from google:



それは、現代人の共通認識のはずではあるまいか。 と、心の中で密かに抗議したものの、口に出しては何も言わない。 どうせ言っても、呆れ顔でたしなめられるだけだからだ。

This usage doesn't match any definitions of ては I can understand or find in a dictionary. What does it mean?

1 Answer 1



「ては」, in this phrase, is just the 「て」 in the te-form of 「出す」 and the "contrast and emphasize" 「は」.

In other words, 「口に出しては何も言わない」 is only an emphatic form of 「口に出し何も言わない」. = "to not verbalize one's thought"

If you take a close look at both your sentences, you will notice that in each sentence, a person has a thought or opinion about a matter but s/he is not expressing it verbally, correct?

I feel you might have thought too much into this 「ては」 as it actually has many different (and important) usages.


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