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All About Japanese Particles: とも (tomo)

[Serie: All About Japanese Particles]

1. Used after numbers and counters: “both, all (three, etc.).”

Koko ni iru hitotachi wa, sannin tomo daigaku de gengō-gaku o benkyō shimashita.
All three of the people here studied linguistics in college. (Lit., As for the people who are here, all three …)

Kono sētā wa, nimai tomo M-saizu desu ka.
Are both of these sweaters mediums?

2. After the -ku form of adjectives, indicates an approximate maximum or minimum: “at the least, most, latest, etc.”

Kono ie nara, sukunaku tomo ichioku-en wa suru deshō.
This house would cost at least 100 million yen.

Kono jiko de shinda hito wa, ōku tomo hyakunin gurai darō.
The [number of] fatalities in this accident was 100 people at most.

3. Indicates inclusion: “including.”

Sābisu-ryō tomo gōkei ichiman-gosen-en desu.
The total is ¥115,000 including the service charge.

Unchin tomo de, goman-en ni narimasu ga.
It comes to 150,000, including freight.

4. Used after the ō form of a verb, adds emphasis to a supposition: “even if, no matter.”

Ano hito nara donna koto ga arō tomo, saigo made ganbaru darō.
No matter what happens, he (if anyone) will stick it out to the bitter end.

Ashita wa yuki ga furō tomo, iku tsumori da.
Even if it should snow tomorrow, I intend to go.

*5.In the form tomo arō (noun) ga: “of all people (things).”

Shushō tomo arō hito ga, sonna koto o shite heiki da to wa shinji-rarenai.
For the prime minister, of all people, to do something like that and be calm [about it] is unbelievable. / I can’t believe that someone in the position of prime minister could do some-thing like that without the slightest qualm.

Daigaku no gakuchō tomo arō hito ga, anna ni bijon ga nai no de wa komaru.
For the president of the university, of all people, to be so lacking in vision is a problem (troublesome). / We’re in trouble (in a fix, in bad shape) if the person who is supposed to be the presi-dent of the university is so lacking in vision.

6. Appearing after two words of opposite meaning and followed by ienai “can’t say (yes) or (no).”

Tada-san wa, ano eiga wa ii tomo warui tomo ienai to itte mashita.
Tada said that he couldn’t say whether the movie was good or bad. / Tada said that it was hard to say whether the movie was good or bad.

Sono nedan wa, takai tomo yasui tomo iemasen ne.
It’s hard to say whether the price is high or low.

7. At the end of a sentence, adds decisiveness to a positive state-ment: “indeed, certainly, of course.”

Kono hon o karite ii desu ka.
li tomo.
May I borrow this book?


Ashita no shiai ni ikimasu ka.
lku tomo.
Are you going to the game tomorrow?
I certainly am.

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


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