Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 5: 13/17


Even if not, Without, Don't have to


Verb[ない+ + とも
Noun + ならとも(1)

1. なる[ない] + + とも



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About ずとも

When combined with the classical auxiliary verb ず (used for negation), the conjunction particle とも 'even if' implies that regardless of the hypothetical situation of (A), (B) still applies. This often translates as 'even if not (A), (B)', or 'don't have to (A) to (B)'.
ずとも will appear attached to the ない-stem of verbs.
  • (むかし)練習(れんしゅう)ずとも(あたら)しい(きょく)完璧(かんぺき)()けたのに、(いま)となってはどんだけ練習(れんしゅう)しても上手(うま)()けないいんだよな。
    I used to be able to play new music without any practice, but now I can't play well no matter how much I practice.
  • あなたが(いま)ものすごく()()んでいるということは()ずともわかりますよ。
    I can tell that you are very upset without even asking.
  • 日本(にほん)留学(りゅうがく)ずとも日本語(にほんご)習得(しゅうとく)する方法(ほうほう)はあるが、日本(にほん)()って勉強(べんきょう)する(ほう)(たの)しそうだから(わたし)日本(にほん)留学(りゅうがく)したいです。
    I know that there are ways to study Japanese without studying abroad in Japan, but I am going to Japan because it seems fun to study there.
When the speaker wants to express 'not being (A)' rather than 'not doing (A)', ならずとも will follow a noun. This is simply the negated form of the う-Verb なる 'to become'.
  • 専門家(せんもんか)ならずとも(かれ)政治(せいじ)について色々(いろいろ)()っている。
    Even though he is not an expert, he knows alot about politics.
  • (おや)ならずとも子育(こそだて)てが大変(たいへん)だということは()てわかるはずだ。
    You don't have to be a parent to see that parenting is hard work.
Although ずとも is a formal expression, it may occasionally be used sarcastically. Additionally, it is common for ずとも to be followed by ()い. This can be interpreted as 'okay even if not (A)'.
  • 来週(らいしゅう)試合(しあい)相手(あいて)はあの(よわ)いチームだから、そんなに練習(れんしゅう)ずとも()いだろう。
    Next week's game is against that weak team, so we won't have to practice so much.


  • (ひさ)しぶり()った友達(ともだち)(はなし)、まさお:「こんな可愛(かわい)(おんな)()どういう関係(かんけい)だ? まさかガールフレンドか?」

    Chat with friends who met after a long time, Masao: 'What is your relationship with such a cute girl? Don't tell me she is your girlfriend?'
    Aoshima: 'Well... Even if you're not spot on, you are close. She's my wife.'

    当たらずとも遠からず is a set expression meaning 'near the mark'.

  • (いもうと):「でもどうやってわかった?」

    Younger sister: 'But, how did you know?'
    Older brother: 'We are a family, so I understand you even if you don't say anything.'

  • ゲーム評論(ひょうろん):「RPGゲームファンならずとも、ウィッチャー3に興味(きょうみ)をひかれずにはいられません。」

    Game review: 'Even if I am not an RPG fan, I cannot help but be captivated by Witcher 3.'

    Noun + ならずとも is generally less common than でなくとも.

  • 記事(きじ):「アメリカ人とイギリス人は(ほか)言語(げんご)(まな)ずとも()きられる言語(げんご)環境(かんきょう)()ます。」

    Article: 'Americans and Brits are in a language environment where they can live without learning other languages. '

  • 時代小説(じだいしょうせつ)瀕死(ひんし)(おや):「わたしの()心配(しんぱい)などずとも()い。()(むすめ)。」

    A historical novel, dying parent: 'You don't have to worry about me. My dear daughter.'

    ずともよい is nowadays less common than なくてもいい, but it can still be seen in historical novels.

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