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What are the possible uses for だって?

  • It means but, and there is something negative omitted (implied). – user458 Apr 27 '12 at 13:55
15

It can mean "but" (similar to でも):

A: 学校に行きなさい! (Go to school!)
B: だって頭痛んだもん! (But, my head hurts!)

This is often used by children, and can come across as cute or childish.

It can mean "even" (again, similar to でも):

頑張れば君だってできるよ! (If you work hard even you can do it!)

It can mean the same as だと (or more generally, と becomes って)

彼のことが好きだって気づいた (I realised that I like him)

This use is conversational.

  • 3
    I'm not sure how to put it. But it might be worth noting that the first two are (だって) while the last one is (・・・だ)って – Flaw Apr 27 '12 at 11:42
  • @Flaw Good point. Does that seem clearer? I wasn't sure how to explain either so feel free to make an edit if there's a better way :) – ジョン Apr 27 '12 at 13:41
  • 1
    It can also mean "I mean" or "After all" (providing justification). だって、私は今、そういう意味で使っています。 – Hyperworm Apr 27 '12 at 23:06
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From Handbook of Japanese Grammar, Masahiro Tanimori:

INFORMAL PARTICLE OR CONJUNCTION (usually used by women and children) MEANING: but, because, also, even

  1. At the beginning of a sentence

    (in answer to a question)

    「いきたくないの。」 「だって疲れているんだもの」

    "Ikitakunai no?" "Datte tsukarete iru n da mono."

    "You don't want to go?" "Because I'm tired."

    (in reply to an imperative)

    「もうねる時間ですよ。」 「だって眠くないんだもの」

    "Mou neru jikan desu yo." "Datte nemuku nai n da mono."

    "It's time you went to bed." "But I'm not sleepy."

  2. After noun

    金持ちだって不幸な時もある

    Kanemochi datte fukou-na toki mo aru.

    Even rich people are unhappy sometimes.

    「あんなことはいやだ」 「私だっていやだ」 "Anna koto wa iya da." "Watashi datte iya da."

    I hate such things. I do, too.

  3. Used with interrogative pronoun (dare, nan, and doko + datte mean everybody, everything and everywhere, respectively)

    だれだってそれには怒ります。

    Dare datte sore ni wa okorimasu.

    Everybody gets angry at that.

    彼はスポーツならなんだってできます。

    Kare wa supootsu nara nan datte dekimasu.

    If it's sports, he can play everything.

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