I failed to understand the meaning of と in the sentence "峠を二つ三つこえても、まだ海は見えてこない" when I read the story あの坂をのぼれば.

I browsed through the meanings of と in 明鏡国語辞典, but it seems none of them fits.

Could you tell me the meaning of this と and share some examples of this sort of と?




First and foremost, quantifiers are often used adverbially in Japanese whereas they are more often used adjectivally in English. This has been discussed in this Q&A.

Japanese way: 「峠を二つ三つ(と)こえる」、「ハンバーガーを二つ食{た}べる」、「テーブルにリンゴが2個{こ}ある。」, etc.

"English" way: 「二つ三つ峠をこえる」、「二つのハンバーガーを食べる」、「テーブルに2個のリンゴがある。」, etc.

In the sentence in question, 「二つ三つと」 functions adverbially to modify the verb 「こえて(も)」.

There is virtually no difference in meaning between 「二つ三つ」 and 「二つ三つ」. Both function adverbially and both mean "a few (times)".

The 「と」 simply adds a very small amount of emphasis to the quantifier/adverb. Likewise, the difference in meaning between 「ゆっくり」 and 「ゆっくりと」, 「しっかり」 and 「しっかりと」, etc. is minimal.


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