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In a manga there is a stern elf that is reprimanding his fellow adventurer for making fun of someone over drinks:

「その少年に謝罪することはあれ  酒の肴にする権利などない」

Note that there is a line break between the two halves, so it's unclear if it's two sentences or one. I'm very confused on how this あれ functions grammatically. It sounds like a conjugation of 有る, but not like the imperative form (e.g. フォースと共にあれ). Is this some other grammatical form that I'm missing?

2 Answers 2

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This あれ is the 已然形 of the verb ある, and means あっても, "even though there is..."

その少年に謝罪することはあれ  酒の肴にする権利などない ← sounds literary
≈ その少年に謝罪することはあっても  酒の肴にする権利などない

Similar examples:

  • 理由は何であれ、盗みはいけない。
    ≈理由は何であっても、~~~
  • 9月とは言え、まだ残暑が続いております。
    ≈9月とは言っても、~~~

Related threads:

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    This use of the 已然形【いぜんけい】 or "realis form" is somewhat similar to the use of the subjunctive in English: presenting a hypothetical as an introduction to a contrary statement that goes against that hypothetical. Compare the phrase "be that as it may, ...", or more specific to the sample sentence, "even should he be guilty,..." where the "be" and "should be" align with the あれ in the sample sentence. Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 17:02
  • Maybe worth to say that 已然形 is no longer a part of the living grammar, only fossilized in some constructions like this. Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 5:23
  • I wonder if this usage of 已然形 is derived from shortening of 已然形+ど. For example, とはいえど -> とはいえ, 何であれど -> 何であれ, etc. Not sure how it applies to にしろ or にせよ.
    – Jimmy Yang
    Commented Apr 13, 2022 at 6:08
  • @JimmyYang, しろ and せよ are imperative conjugations, not realis. Commented Apr 15, 2022 at 4:13
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means acceptable/ doable in contrast of the second sentence that is unacceptable/ not doable

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    Sorry, I was looking for a more thorough explanation of the grammar involved.
    – skywalker
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 3:28
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 3:38
  • あれ is the short form of (あれば),a potential form of 有る(ある) . So the grammar using here is a pair of ~あれ、~ない , basically there will be two condition, (first condition) あれ、(second condition)ない , means rather to do (first condition) than (second condition). Hope this help
    – Allenchew
    Commented Apr 12, 2022 at 3:42

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