The gist of my question is that for the following statements, the ~ても feels out of place. More specifically, it almost feels absurd to make the exasperated "even if/although" statement in the first place, as the following statement is entirely expected.

I had this in the back of my head for a while. Sometimes I didn't comprehend the sentence correctly at first, so the ても initially felt out of place, but that was my problem. However, there were still some sentences that I'm fairly sure I didn't misunderstand that still had this logical disconnect. These three, for example, that I saved over time:


She doesn't use her lower half when striking me, even if (?) compared to a guy's strength, her arm strength is definitely girl-esque. (Well, no duh, guys are stronger than girls.)


前から思ってたんだ!! お前らちゃんと一列に並べェェ!!

  • speaker taking orders at the register but all the customers are shouting at once

Even if (?) all of you are ordering this much at once, I can't take your orders! (This is probably the worst offender, as being unable to take all the orders is just a no-brainer if they're all shouting at once.)


  • introducing co-ed to an all-girls school

The founding principles of the school are pretty damn ingrained, but even if we suddenly ask the students about the pros/cons of coeducation, it would only cause bewilderment. (Well, yeah, if you suddenly thrust that upon the students, it would obviously cause issues...)

More clearly, for 一度にそんなにたくさん言われても対応出来るかァァ!

  1. Even if all of you are ordering this much at once, I can't take your orders!

  2. If all of you are ordering this much at once, I can't take your orders!

The first translation makes no sense, but it feels like that's what the original sentence was saying. Comparatively, the 2nd "translation" makes more sense, but it's not what is actually being said so to speak...

Edit 1:

Dug up this one as well, regarding date plans:


(Even?) if I go full tryhard on today's activities, it would only make both of us uncomfortable, so today I'm gonna take it easy with her.

Perhaps a less extreme example, but I still feel it gets the feeling across.

Edit 2:

Reading this again after finding yet another related sentence where other initial ambiguities made choosing between ても as ても or たら a nontrivial issue; and vice versa.

The given answer here doesn't apply after looking at it again, since with 「いかに努めても…できない」 etc., there is some expectation that ~ in ~ても will produce some desirable outcome before it is negated to emphasize how "全く…できない" it is.

As with all of the given examples and あんまりゆっくりしてても、お母さん帰ってきちゃうかもだし…, there isn't really any expectation that ~ in ~ても would produce an outcome that would be worthy of a negation. As in this case, doing it really slowly can only result in the mom coming back before they were finished, so negating it doesn't have any of the 全く…できない effect. Overall, the 「ても」→「たら」interpretation is more natural and intuitive, but I have yet to see it confirmed anywhere.

Is there a more academic confirmation out there?

  • Isn't the second example in contrast to the expectation? The expectation is for the order to be taken, but since all the customers are shouting at the same time, the speaker couldn't do it properly. Not sure about the other examples though.
    – DXV
    Sep 13, 2018 at 2:22
  • I guess another way to look at it would be these two statements. "Even if all of you are shouting at once, i can still take all your orders." - wow ! that's a amazing ! ...vs "Even if all of you are shouting at once, there's no way I can take all your orders" - wut?
    – charu
    Sep 13, 2018 at 2:32
  • Actually the correct translation is close to the 2nd one, If all of you are ordering this much at once, i can't take your orders! The ても means something like "because" here. Sorry I can't explain it right, so I'm looking for references that could help. Unless someone else answers first.
    – DXV
    Sep 13, 2018 at 2:55
  • 1
    Your premise seems to be that if the translation of "even if" doesn't make sense, that the Japanese sentence is somehow "wrong" for having used ても. Have you tried looking at definitions for ても in Japanese? Why bring the English into it?
    – Leebo
    Sep 13, 2018 at 5:03
  • 1
    Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/13409/…
    – Hikonyan
    Sep 25, 2019 at 23:08

1 Answer 1


According to 明鏡国語辞典:



(When verbs carrying similar/identical meanings form a compound sentence with the construction 「…ても…ない」) Strongly deny that something is possible. Similar to 「いかに努めても…できない」 and 「全く…できない」

While the grammar doesn't exactly match, the usage is comparable and I believe the 1st, 3rd, and 4th sentences imply similar verbs, you just have to play with the wording a bit. For example, without losing any meaning, the 1st sentence could be changed to


The 2nd sentence is not related because if you take the か off, it's a usage that I assume you know already. The か is just expressing outrage at the customers' expectations.

The 3rd sentence could be


And as for the 4th (this is also kind of a play on words for my dictionary's definition of 気張る=息をつめて力を入れる)


  • Interesting! the 2nd sentence and something like 「あんまりゆっくりしてても、お母さん帰ってきちゃうかもだし……」 - "if we we're too slow (ecchi), your mom will be back (before we finish)", would not apply right?
    – charu
    Oct 27, 2018 at 4:15
  • ahem....I think this example also falls under the usage I specified above、although the meaning is implied, as with the other examples. If you were to say it straightforward, it would be something like 「あんまりゆっくりしてても、最後までできない」. As for one that does not apply, you could say 「いくら頼んでも聞いてくれない」, or 「雨が降っても試合は中止しません」. These two examples are also of the 「…ても…ない」 form, but are considered different uses. They actually have names, respectively 逆説の確定条件 and 逆説の仮定条件. For it to not apply but have a similar construction, and be a compound sentence, it would have to be one of these two. Oct 27, 2018 at 17:07
  • hm, i asked this question a while back for the 2nd sentence , and the あんまりゆっくりしてても, sentence and the response was "これはあまり正しくない日本語のように思います.若者言葉で崩れた日本語という場面ならありですが.この場合は,「ても」→「たら」のほうが良い場面が多いと思います." After your explanation i appended my decision tree with ても to first think "even if", if that doesn't work read it as たら, and if that does work, i use your 「…ても…ない」interpretation. Overall it feels very fluid without distinct boundaries.
    – charu
    Oct 27, 2018 at 20:32
  • Yeah, I would probably use たら in that last one as well. It sounds much more natural. Oct 27, 2018 at 22:46

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