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i have this sentence: 強く止めておいたものの、ばかなこと考えなければいいが

what function does this marked は have? how would the sentence change without it? is there some way to keep it in translation?

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This is a type of contrastive-は that emphasizes the correctness of the statement. You don't have to always translate it, but you can keep the nuance in English translation using "at least" or "did":

  • Although I at least stopped him strongly, ...
  • Although I did stop him strongly, ...

This type of contrastive-は can be placed between a te-form and a subsidiary verb. Similar examples:

  • 食べてはみます。
    = 食べてみはします。
    I'll try (eating) it, at least (although it doesn't look delicious).
  • 教えてはもらった。
    = 教えてもらいはした。
    [Someone] did teach it to me / I did learn it (although I forgot it).
  • 持ってはくるけど、本当に必要なの?
    = 持ってきはするけど、本当に必要なの?
    I will bring it, but is it really necessary?

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