3

a high school student walks into a confection store and after ordering some sweets, the female attendant with whom he is familiar with says:

スイーツを? 彼女でもできたんでしょう~?

she later sees him off by saying:

今度は彼女でも連れて来なさいよ!

I read somewhere that できる can mean to "get with" someone, so I think the first part translates to something like:

sweets huh? that means you've got a girlfriend right?

and the second part being:

bring your girlfriend next time!

other than my more than likely mistranslated use of できる, it's the use of でも in both cases that is confusing me. I know that noun+でも= "even noun", but "bring even a girl/your girlfriend next time!" doesn't sound right to me. Does it mean too/also, if so why not use just も?

If someone could give me a true translation of the sentences and help me to better understand those でもs, I would greatly appreciate it, thanks.

  • 2
    These threads might be of some help... japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/13463/… and japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/21519/… – Chocolate May 9 '16 at 5:44
  • What (sort of convo) takes place between the two utterances? The use of でも in the second sentence is indeed very strange (and unnatural) if the guy has already admitted that he now has a GF. Without knowing the flow of the story, this question would not be answerable. – l'électeur May 9 '16 at 10:12
  • Think of it more as a suggestion "Why don't you bring your girlfriend next time!" – hgiesel May 9 '16 at 23:00
  • Sweets, hey? What, you got a girlfriend or something?... Next time bring your girlfriend or whoever she is! – VeryCommonName May 10 '16 at 2:32
2

In your first example sentence, the question: 彼女でもできたんでしょう〜? can be translated to "Did you get yourself a girlfriend or something?" The "or something" is there to express the nuance given by でも in this sentence.

Please reference definition #3: http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/152508/meaning/m0u/

For convenience, I've copied it here.

3 物事をはっきりと言わず、一例として挙げる意を表す。「けが―したら大変だ」「兄に―相談するか」

Defintion translated:

3 Expresses an idea by providing an example without clearly stating it.

Also, from the 大辞林 (Daijirin):

軽く例示的に提出する。

Provides an example in a light manner.

In other words, it's a way of making the question somewhat more vague in the same way that "or something" does in the English translation I provided you.

In your second example sentence: 今度は彼女でも連れて来なさいよ! the でも is the same でも as in the first. My thought on this is that でも is likely being used because the speaker is unsure of the relationship between the male student in your story and the individual for whom he his presumably purchasing the sweets for.

In other words, the speaker doesn't actually know whether or not the male student is dating anyone or not, but is assuming so. To make the speech less direct, the speaker uses でも.

Further usage examples:

  • お茶でも飲む? "Do you want (to drink) some tea or something?"
  • 兄にでも相談したらどうだ? "Why don't you talk to someone, like your older brother?"
  • ホテルのロビーででも待っていてください。 "Please wait in the hotel lobby (or somewhere near there)."
  • こんな時、〇〇君でもいてくれたらなあ。"If only ___ were here at such a time as this."

Further reading: http://tle.westone.wa.gov.au/content/file/841c139b-f114-4b7b-b2be-fc376c32533e/1/1585_Japanese_Unit_3A.zip/content/02_learning_thru_travel/page_07.htm

  • In your second example, did you mean to write "why DON'T you talk to someone"? – kuchitsu May 30 '16 at 19:26
  • @kuchitsu Yes! Thank you for catching that. Fixed. – David May 30 '16 at 19:40

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