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と言っても vs とは言え .

Apparently they mean the same thing (although, that being said) and yet there are cases when only one of them can be used. For example: 梅雨とはいえ、これほど雨が続くのも珍しい。

  • 2
    The main difference is that とはいえ is a written/formal form of と言っても. In the above sentence I would of thought its fine to use といっても?
    – Jeemusu
    Aug 22, 2012 at 3:10
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    This is what I read in one of my reference books, however the teacher was categorically against it. And she was completely certain that only とはいえ can be used here.
    – buskila
    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:37
  • This could have been a duplicate. And I'm using the same book, but there is no answer why in my example sentence といっても can't be used.
    – buskila
    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:51
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    Ohh what a difficult question... I googled 梅雨とは言え and 梅雨と言っても and read several examples. Then I found that 梅雨とは言え is more followed by phrases such as「よく降ります/降りすぎです/毎日毎日/大雨/豪雨/鬱陶しい/じとじとetc...」and 梅雨とは言っても is more followed by「雨の少ない/晴れるんです/晴れて暑かった/ずっと降るわけではなく/水不足が心配etc...」
    – user1016
    Aug 22, 2012 at 9:10
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    So from Chocolate's samples, it looks like とは言え fits overfulfillment of expectations ("the precondition is true, sure, but really, this far!?"), whereas と言っても fits underfulfillment ("given the precondition, this isn't what I expected"). There's probably a nice, technical explanation for why this is, but I don't know it. I just know it sounds right to me. Aug 22, 2012 at 9:18

1 Answer 1


The subtle difference between the two expressions is that とはいっても sounds a bit more emphatic about providing evidence that appears contrary to the sentence that precedes it. For example, when you say



The latter sounds a bit more emphatic. I am sure these are not the most effective ways to translate them, but you see a subtle difference in the connotations when I translate as follows:

President Bush was a Yale graduate but did not appear intelligent.

Despite being a Yale graduate, President Bush did not appear intelligent.

The former sounds more neutral whereas the latter sounds more emphatic.

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