1

[来られて][も] =[even][coming]???? so the literal translation sentence is like: Even coming at this late time bothers. ? which would be understood as: Coming at this late time bothers/is not prefered/causes trouble....etc. ?

does the particle も reallly mean 'even if' in the sentence?

2

Basically, も following the te-form means "even if".

  • 中を見ても何もありません。
    Even if you look inside, there's nothing.
  • 死んでも言わない。
    I won't say it even if I die.

You can see lots of examples here.

(Since you asked for a word-by-word translation, this ても (or でも) is a standalone conjunctive particle that follows the 連用形. But this is a very common pattern, and it's fine to think of this simply as the temo-form which is like the te-form.)

However, the role of も here is different from the basic meaning above. If you translated this using "even if"...

こんな遅い時間に来られても困ります。
(?) Even if you come at this late time, I'll be bothered.

This is a strange English sentence because 困る is a natural outcome of 遅い時間に来られる! Actually, I think it's better to think of this sentence as a "reserved" or "milder" version of:

こんな遅い時間に来られて困ります。
If you come at this late time, I'll be bothered.

ては is a way to say "if", and replacing は with も makes the sentence sound milder and reserved. This tricky usage of も has asked several times:


In case you've missed these...

  • 困る is an intransitive verb that means "to be bothered" or "to be at a loss".
  • The verb before も is not 来て but 来られて. This 来られて is the te-form of 来られる, which is the "rareru-form" of 来る. This られる is either a suffering passive or an honorific, depending on the context. (Well, it's hard to translate either way...)
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  • "If you come at this late time, I'm at a loss." is still awkward, to the extent that I don't know what it actually means. I find this use of ても rather confusing. Could you give a less literal translation of the sentence so I can understand the meaning please? – user3856370 Jul 27 at 6:36
  • @user3856370 Thank you, does it work fine now? Maybe "It bothers me if ..." is more natural? – naruto Jul 28 at 2:13
  • Because I don't know the actual meaning of the sentence it's hard for me to say. I feel that "If you come at this late time, I'll be bothered" is still a little unnatural. The "if" in this sentence sounds hypothetical, and it doesn't play nicely with the "this" (which makes it sounds like a concrete instance rather than a hypothetical". "If you come late I'll be bothered" sounds natural as a hypothetical condition. For a situation in which the person has already come late and is being chastised I would say "When you come late it bothers me" (although that implies that ... – user3856370 Jul 28 at 6:20
  • ... this isn't the first time the person has been late). If it is the first time the person came late then "It bothers me that you came late" would be appropriate (but then I see no need for a conditional at all). I wonder which ones of these the Japanese sentence means. – user3856370 Jul 28 at 6:23
1

word-by-word translation of こんな遅い時間に来られても困ります。

Here's the breakdown, first word by word.

こんな

"this kind of (something)"

遅【おそ】い

"late"

時間【じかん】

"time", "time of day"

Locational / temporal particle: "at"

来【こ】られて

passive conjunctive form of 来【く】る

inclusive particle: "also", "even"

困【こま】ります

Polite conjugation of 困【こま】る: "to be stuck, to be in a pickle, to be in an unfortunate situation"

By phrase

Putting the first half back together:

こんな遅【おそ】い時間【じかん】に

"this kind of late time at" → "at such a late time as this"

Putting the second half back together:

来【こ】られても困【こま】ります

"[someone] comes [PASSIVE] even [someone] is stuck" → "even if [he / she / you / it / they] come, [I'll] be in a bad situation"

Explaining the passive here involves an advanced topic -- the 来【こ】られて is an example of the "suffering passive". There are various posts on the Japanese Stack Exchange about this: see also https://japanese.stackexchange.com/search?q=suffering+passive

Broadly speaking, it's a bit like in English when someone says "they went and did XYZ on me". It implies a negative result.

Putting it all back together

こんな遅い時間に来られても困ります

"this kind of late time at [someone] comes [PASSIVE] even [someone] is stuck"

"At this late hour, even if they come, it won't be good."

The implication is that 1) "they" were expected, but didn't show up, and 2) by this point, the speaker doesn't want them to show up.


Please comment if the above does not address your question.

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  • Your word-by-word breakdown was magnificent! But the conclusion of the sentence would be: If you come at this late time, I'll be bothered. as in こんな遅い時間に来られては困ります。 right? – raruna Jul 27 at 15:26
  • @raruna: There are various ways of translating 困る. "I'll be bothered" certainly works, it's just not a very natural way of expressing that sentiment in English. There are also various ways of translating the subjects of the verbs, depending on context. For 困る in this sentence, it's almost certainly the speaker -- but it could conceivably be someone else that the speaker is talking about. For 来る, we really have no idea: might be "you", might be "them", might be "my mother-in-law", might be "the plumber"... :) – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 27 at 20:10
  • No i didn't mean that, I mean the correct understanding of the sentence is: [At this late hour, if they come, it won't be good.] and NOT [At this late hour, even if they come, it won't be good.] right? – raruna Jul 27 at 23:34
  • @raruna, I'd expect that sense to be expressed more as 来【き】たら. With 来【こ】られて, there is a sense of "even" expressed there. I understand naruto's point in his post, and find myself thinking that the も adds the overtone that since it's so late the speaker is 困る-ing either way -- even if they come, even if they don't. I think there's a frustrated resignation expressed with the も version. – Eiríkr Útlendi Jul 27 at 23:56
  • This seems to go beyond language itself, it's rather more mental i'd say. Sometimes I wonder how do Japanese get to go deep in those 'overtones'. And i wonder also how can i learn to add overtones to my own sentences as they do. – raruna Jul 28 at 0:19

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