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I would like to know if both expressions ~として~ない and ~たりとも~ない are completely interchangeable or if there is any difference between them.

According to several grammar websites, ~として~ない and ~たりとも~ない seem to have the same meaning (not even one) and be used in the same way.

However, in this web

https://nihongonosensei.net/?p=3804

I've read that one difference between ~として~ない and ~たりとも~ない is that with ~として~ない you can say the expression 二人としていない (there is not another person like...), something not possible with ~たりとも~ない.

But then, searching for 「二人としていない」on Google, I found that 「二人としていない」is not a correct expression. The correct one would be 「二人といない」.

So, the sole difference between ~として~ない and ~たりとも~ない loses weight and in the end, I don't know if both expressions are the same or not.

If there is any difference in usage between ~として~ない and ~たりとも~ない, could you please give me an example where that difference can be noticed?

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〜たりとも〜ない is typically used to express the idea that even a small amount should not be allowed to break the continuity or completeness of something, or to deny the existence of such an amount.

一秒たりとも目が離せない。

一度たりとも嘘をついたことがない。

The usage of 〜として〜ない is broader, and you can rephrase the above sentences with it without changing their meanings.

一秒として目が離せない。

一度として嘘をついたことがない。

In addition, it can also be used to express that even a single instance of something doesn’t do something or doesn’t meet some condition.

一人として彼を助けようとしない。

一つとして気に入るものがなかった。

These sentences would sound a bit weird if として was replaced with たりとも, at least to me.

An interrogative may precede the word for the single instance.

誰一人として彼を助けようとしない。

何一つとして気に入るものがなかった。

This seems to work only with として.

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  • Thank you very much for your answer. Now I understand better both structures. :)
    – kanachan
    Aug 22 at 17:20

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