I'm a bit confused about this sentence:


This part is easy: 斜陽の日本語は. It means "the Japanese (language) in (the book) The Setting Sun ..."

But this second bit confuses me a lot: 私でもたまに. I read it as: "I ... but occasionally ... difficult." What?

What's the meaning of 私でもたまに in this sentence?

(Maybe it means "but occasionally, I find it difficult?" If that's the case, shouldn't でも be placed before 私?)

1 Answer 1


This usage of でも is the て form of です plus も 'even'.

Some examples (from Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar):


Even a teacher makes mistakes.


I will even do a difficult job.


Even from here you can see Mt. Fuji.

Therefore, 私でも is something like "even if it's me".

Putting it all together, we could translate it to something like:

The Japanese (language) in (the book) The Setting Sun, even to me is occasionally difficult.

  • 4
    More precisely, a form of だ. The て form of です is でして.
    – user1478
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 5:13
  • Thanks. So "but" and "even" can be written in the same way ... but then how to tell if it's "but or "even"?
    – alex
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 5:34
  • 1
    @alex The same way you tell apart bear and bear. Context.
    – user1478
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 9:22

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