Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 3/18


Even while ~ing, Even though ~ing, Despite ~ing, Although ~ing


Verb[ます+ つつ(も)


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About つつ(も)

In addition to the base meaning of つつ 'while doing (A)' when used by itself, the addition of も simply adds the nuance of 'even'. This is often translated as 'even while doing (A), (B)', or 'although doing (A), (B)'. (B) will almost always be something that is somehow contradictory to (A).
Like つつ, つつも will appear after the ます-stem of a verb that is the original ongoing action.
  • 一人(ひとり)洞窟(どうくつ)(はい)るのは(あぶ)ないと()つつも(はい)ってしまった。
    Despite knowing that going in a cave alone is dangerous, I went in.
  • (はじ)めてのライブで緊張(きんちょう)つつもものすごく(たの)しめました。
    Despite being very nervous at my first concert, I was able to enjoy it.
Caution - Like つつ, つつも will usually include a non-physical action in (A), such as reading, listening, looking, thinking, etc. (B) may be either physical or non-physical. Also, in the same way as つつ is similar to ながら, つつも is similar to ながらも.
  • (かれ)(あし)骨折(こっせつ)していながらも大会(たいかい)出場(しゅつじょう)しようとしたところ、監督(かんとく)()められた。
    Despite having a broken leg, he tried to enter the tournament, but was stopped by the coach. (Natural Japanese)
  • (かれ)(あし)骨折(こっせつ)していつつも大会(たいかい)出場(しゅつじょう)しようとしたところ、監督(かんとく)()められた。
    Even while having a broken leg, he tried to enter the tournament, but was stopped by the coach. (Physical action, unnatural Japanese)
  • なんかこの(はなし)(あや)しいなと(おも)ながらも(かれ)のことを(しん)じてみた。
    Despite thinking, 'this sounds fishy,' I believed him. (Natural Japanese)
  • なんかこの(はなし)(あや)しいなと(おも)つつも(かれ)のことを(しん)じてみた。
    Even though I thought that the story was fishy, I believed him. (Non-physical, natural Japanese)
Despite the similarities, it will be important to remember that つつ only appears with verbs, while ながら can be used after almost any type of word.




    Despite (everyone) preparing well, the south pole expedition failed.


    Modern people, despite knowing that eating breakfast is important, refuse to do so.


    Despite thinking that entering the dungeon was dangerous, the protagonist still went inside.


    Despite knowing that it is dangerous, there are cases when scientists, for the sake of knowledge, carry out experiments while putting their lives on the line.


    Despite becoming slanted, the Jenga tower somehow held out.

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