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I was taught that the meaning of AてもB falls into one of four categories:

  1. Even if A, B; B even if A.
  2. Although A, B; Even though A, B; Though A, B.
  3. When combined with an interrogative word like 何, 誰, どう, etc., expresses "no matter what/who/how/etc."
  4. When いい is added after Vても, implies V is allowed.

The four definitions above make sense most of the time. Sometimes, they don't.

I have difficulties applying the meaning of ても to the two sentences below.


From One Piece, when Shanks told Luffy he can't become a pirate because he can't swim. Luffy argued

カナヅチでも船から落ちなきゃいいじゃないか!!

それに戦ってもおれは強いんだ!!

How I am supposed to understand the usage of ても in the second sentence? Applying definitions 1, 2, and 4 doesn't make sense here. I can roughly understand the second sentence as

And no matter who I fight, I'm strong!!

I'm not sure if this is the correct way to understand the sentence. Are interrogative words necessary to express the "no matter" meaning of ても?


Dad noticed his fat son ate lots of sweets. He yelled

こんなにお菓子を食べても動けるんだ?

I'm not sure how to understand ても here. I feel that all four definitions are not applicable in this example because it will make the sentence sound weird when translated. How to understand this sentence in the "Japanese way."


Also, how ても grammar constructions actually work. Based on my observations, I can understand all four definitions of AてもB as

As much as A is happening, still B.

Is it good idea to interpret ても this way?

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Is it good idea to interpret ても this way?

If it works for you, then yes. Japanese and English are very different languages, and one-to-one translations rules only work for simple constructs. I think it is better to understand the Japanese grammar as an abstract concept, like you did with "As much as A is happening, still B", and then be more specific with the English translation depending on the context. Personally, I think of ても as "despite/even".

それに戦ってもおれは強いんだ!!

Besides, I'm a strong fighter (lit. Besides, I'm strong even when it comes to fighting.)

I think it's a bit confusing because he's only using one ても. But you can think of it as him saying, "それに戦っても、走っても、料理しても、おれは強いんだ" (I'm strong/good whether it be fighting, racing, or cooking), without explicitly saying all the other things he's good at.

こんなにお菓子を食べても動けるんだ?

I can't believe you're still mobile after eating all this. (lit. You can still move despite eating this much?)

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