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The following sentence was said to me in a conversation:

だから堅実な器具があっても危ないのを好むのも思い上がりなんだろ?

My understanding of this sentence is: "Is it not hubris to have safe tools and prefer dangerous ones?"

I am assuming that the も after [there are safe tools] and [preferring dangerous ones] make up something similar to "A and B" or "A while B" in english. Is this the case? Also, is there another instance of 器具 implied after 危ないの? Lastly, why is there a の after 好む but not after あって?

Please let me know if I can clarify anything about my question.

2 Answers 2

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This も is not "also". You are actually seeing ても (でも), which is a conjunctive particle that is normally translated as "even though" or "even if". A literal translation would be:

だから堅実な器具があっても危ないのを好むのも思い上がりなんだろ?
Preferring dangerous ones even if you have safe tools is also hubris, isn't it?


Also, is there another instance of 器具 implied after 危ないの

Nothing is "implied" after 危ないの. 危ないの by itself means "dangerous ones" where の is a pronoun meaning "one". For example, 新しいを買おう means "Let's buy a new one".

why is there a の after 好む but not after あって?

堅実な器具があっても危ないのを好む forms one verb clause, and 堅実な器具があっても is a subordinate clause (i.e., it's one level "deeper" and modifies 好む). This is why only one nominalizer is necessary, after 好む. Also in English, you won't need more than one "-ing" to translate this part: "preferring dangerous ones even if you have safe tools". You can see how "even if you have safe tools" is one level deeper and modifies "prefer dangerous ones".

It is also possible to translate this sentence using English "and", which sometimes carries a contrastive or ironical meaning. So "having safe tools and preferring dangerous ones" is a valid translation, but syntactically speaking, the original Japanese is not constructed this way.

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  • First, thank you for such a thorough answer. It is very informative. Next, one more question: the sentence in my post followed an earlier sentence about how thinking you can completely avoid mistakes is hubris (hence the だから at the beginning). Does the も after 好むの make the sentence's meaning closer to "isn't [preferring, etc.] also hubris"?
    – sunsigil
    May 16, 2023 at 17:32
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    @sunsigil Ah, yes, も before 思い上がり is simply "also". I overlooked it.
    – naruto
    May 17, 2023 at 1:04
  • Using "and" ironically for this purpose is... a bit poetic; "but" is more common in plain speech. May 17, 2023 at 2:26
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While phrases like "even though" and "even if" are often useful for translating Japanese sentences that use で + も (more generally, the て-form of a verb + も), I disagree that this is really a special case. The sense of "even if X" derives from "also X-ing", i.e. "in the case where X happens, as well".

The two uses of の in 危ないのを好むの are nominalizing. We can tell this because they follow predicates (the i-adjective 危ない and the verb 好む), and are followed by particles - which is to say, they are in the exact place where an ordinary noun could go, in order to be described by those predicates). 危ない器具 -> dangerous tool; 危ないの -> dangerous thing, roughly.

There is no の after あって because it simply doesn't make sense grammatically. て-forms of verbs (as well as い-stems) are sufficiently noun-like already to put a particle after them, and they don't function as predicates (unless there is some implied actual predicate they're connecting to, e.g. 下さい at the end of a sentence).

Breaking the sentence down into pieces:

だ    から
it-is <because

"Therefore,"

堅実な 器具  が      あ   って も
safe   tools (subj.) exist-ing <also

"even if there are safe tools,"

危ない       の    を     好む   の   も
is-dangerous thing (obj.) prefer -ring <also

"preferring dangerous ones -"

思い上がり なん だ ろ?
conceit    what be (vol.)

"isn't that also hubris?"

(Here, borrowing the も from the previous part. On a re-reading I agree that it needs to be included as naruto did. Presumably, it refers to some other act that was previously judged conceited during the conversation.)

At any rate: も is not "paired" with the previous one; 堅実な器具があっても attaches to 好む, not to だろ.

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