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All About Japanese Particles: ても (でも) -te mo (-de mo)

Note: Here we are concerned with mo in combination with the – te (-de) form of verbs and the -kute form of adjectives. See also mo (#3) and de mo (#5).

1. “Even if, even though.”

明日天気が悪くても、ドライブに行きましょう。
Ashita tenki ga warukute mo, doraibu ni ikimashō.
Even if the weather is bad tomorrow, let’s go for a drive. / Let’s go for a drive tomorrow even if the weather’s bad.

友達が作ってくれたので、あまりおいしくなくても料理は全部食べましたよ。
Tomodachi ga tsukutte kureta no de, amari oishiku nakute mo ryōri wa zenbu tabemashita yo.
Since a friend prepared the food [for me), I ate everything, even though it didn’t taste very good.

2. After verbs, used in conjunction with interrogatives for emphasis: “no matter where (who, what, etc.).”

武田さんは、いくら飲んでも酔わないんですよ。
Takeda-san wa, ikura nonde mo yowanai-n desu yo.
No matter how much Takeda drinks, he doesn’t get drunk.

お花見のときは、どこへ行っても人でいっぱいだ。
Ohanami no toki wa, doko e itte mo hito de ippai da.
During flower-viewing time, there are crowds of people wherever you go.

3. Emphasizes an approximate limit: “at the most.”

そのカメラなら、高くても5万円くらいでしょう。
Sono kamera nara, takakute mo go-man-en kurai deshō.
At the most, that camera will cost around ¥50,000. (Lit., That camera, even if it’s expensive, will be about ¥50,000.)

あの芝居は長くても3時間で終わりますよ。
Ano shibai wa nagakute mo san-jikan de owarimasu yo.
That play will last three hours at the most.

– Source: All about particles – A handbook of Japanese function words

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