I'm currently going over lesson no. 21 of 新完全マスター N2, and I'm not sure about the difference between the usage of ~まで and ~さえ. Looking at the description and the example sentences, it seemed like both of these forms might be used to mean "even X" or "to the point of X". The example sentences that really bugged me are the folowing:



In which both さえ and まで are used as "to the point of", and



In which both さえ and まで are used as "even" when presenting an unexpected/atypical example.

In addition, according to Shin Kanzen, the words coming before these two forms are both "極端で意外性のある例".

I'd be glad to know whether both of these forms can be used in the same way in these contexts, and are they interchangeable in the sentences I mentioned earlier? If not - when will each one of them be used?

1 Answer 1


Former ones which means “to the point of” completely interchangeable.

But latter one is not. Because,these two word’s definitions are strictly,little bit different each other.

“さえ” this intention is to refer to something that is minimally expected. “まで” is intended to refer to something that has a more important element.

Ex さえ:一番に賛成してくれると思っていた母さえ私の結婚に反対した。(I thought at least,my mother would agree with me,but~) まで:一番に賛成してくれると思っていた母まで私の結婚に反対した。(My father and brother didn’t agree with me. Besides,my mother didn’t~)

Ex さえ:この料理は簡単だ。料理の苦手なわたしでさえ失敗しなかった。(This cooking is easy.because “me”who is not good at cooking succeeded.) まで:この料理は簡単だ。料理の苦手なわたしまで失敗しなかった。(This cooking is easy.Because other people succeeded in usual,but additionally,I succeeded too.)

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