Basically, I still can't really understand how to use でも and how I should translate it. Before doing the right thing (aka linking me another similar question), please keep in mind that I'm asking this because apparently I couldn't understand with the other examples; I hope this won't be annoying.

I'll introduce the context and then the sentences in which でも has been used by the person I've been talking with: the context is us, talking about how we're learning languages (I'm learning Japanese, he's learning Italian), he asked how I'm studying Japanese (どうやって) and I've replied that I go to my local JP school once at week, then I asked for how long he's been learning Italian and I got this kind of reply:


I can understand the first part of the sentence:

たしかに: obviously/certainly

週一だけだ: just once at week

と覚えづらい: it's a pain to remember (learned づらい from videogames just a week ago; awesome timing ^-^)

While I'm having issues with the grammar (だ after だけ and と before 覚え: is that supposed to be like "I think"?) and (かも before です too, I have no idea about that), which I think it's understandable since I'm not even an N5 yet (we're still stuck with directions in class), I could understand that part of the sentence just by reading it.

The hard part it's that one that comes after:

毎日5分: everyday 5 minutes

でも少ない時間: no idea: as soon as I saw でも plus a negated adjective, my brain stopped working:

でもやった方がいいですよ!: ignoring でも; I would translate it as "it would be better if you did"

Now, I've read some stuff about でも and I usually remember it as "even if": I initially thought his reply was something like "once a week? sure that's bad, but not as 5 minutes everyday!", but then I looked at the sentence and I couldn't find the comparative [より], so I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be the correct translation.

However, going by the "even if" narrative, mixed with his other reply


made me think about another way of translating it:

"it's certainly difficult to remember if you go there once at week, it would be better if you could do it for 5 minutes everyday"

And his other reply as something along the lines of "I don't have time but I do it everyday".

I'm..not really sure though, some of those grammatical forms (especially でも) are completely foreign to me as I'm stuck with the basics right now.

Could anyone help me understand how to translate and use this one?

Thank you very much for reading and for your patience.

1 Answer 1


「でも」 is one of those annoying things that pop up all over the place and gets confusing because its function isn't always the same. Here's the usages of 「でも」 that I know. I'm sure someone else can give you a better answer but here's the gist of it.

  1. However/But

    「でも。。。それ、違うよね。。。」 But...that's not right, is it...

  2. ~~~ or something/somewhere

    「ディズニーランドでもいく?」 You wanna go to Disneyland or someplace?

  3. Neither A nor B

    「正解はAでもBでもない。」The answer is neither A nor B.

  4. Even if

    「5分でもいいから座りたい。。。」 I want to sit, even if for just 5 minutes...

    「大統領でも不正はだめだ。」 Even if you're the president, corruption is not okay.

  5. Even/also in/at

    「一郎君の登校拒否は母親の家でも続いた。」"Ichiro's school refusal continued even at his mother's house"

  6. As well

    「お前の敵は俺の敵でもある。」"Your enemy is my enemy as well."

In your example,

「5分でも」= even if for 5 minutes

「少ない時間でも」= even if for a short time

So he's saying you should do it every day, even if it's for a short time like 5 minutes.

  • Thank you for your reply. I got a phrase right here to which i've tried to apply your examples, but i still can't understand very well: 町の長老ババ様はこの地方でも名高い : just by looking it at, i would say "Baba, the city elder (leader, in that sense), it's famous EVEN IN this region": is "EVEN IN" another proper translation of でも?
    – ABC DFG
    May 30, 2018 at 18:15
  • Good example! Depending on the context and nuance, it could be translated as "even in" or "in/at ~~~~~ as well". A similar situation occurs with 「にも」 in that it can mean different things depending on how it's being used. 「~にも関わらず」→"Despite ~~~" / 「そこにも1個あるよ!」→ "There's one over there too!" May 31, 2018 at 1:27

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