Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 10: 17/21


Even if, No matter

少なくとも is a very common example of this construction which is also used in spoken Japanese.


Verb[おう] + とも
Verb[なく + とも
[な]Adjective + であろう + とも
[い]Adjective[く](1) + とも

(1) [い]Adjective[かろう]


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About とも

とも is a particle that can be used either as a sentence-ending particle, conjunction particle, or adverbial particle. Despite this, the meanings are often interchangeable, and it depends mostly on what type of word they are grouped with as to which type of particle it is. Common interpretations of とも in almost any situation are 'even if (A)', or 'no matter if (A)', and it will basically always simply highlight that 'in spite of (A), still (B)'.
As a conjunction particle, とも will be paired with any words that are followed by the auxiliary verbs う, or よう, or after い-Adjectives in their conjunctive form.
  • (おや)(なん)()おうとも(わたし)(かれ)結婚(けっこん)するつもりだ。
    No matter what my parents say, I intend on marrying him.
  • (さかな)がどんなに(あば)ようとも、この(いと)絶対(ぜったい)()れません。
    No matter how violent the fish thrashes around, this line will never break.
  • 人生(じんせい)がいくら(つら)とも(あきら)めてはいけない。
    No matter how hard life is, you must not give up.
  • いくら下手(へた)であろうとも毎日(まいにち)練習(れんしゅう)をしていればそのうち上手(じょうず)になれる。
    No matter how bad you are at it, if you practice every day, you will eventually get good at it.
The adverbial particle usage only appears after い-Adjectives in their conjunctive form, and a select number of adverbs. It is recommended not to use this structure after adverbs unless you have already seen it used this way in native material.


  • 生徒(せいと)授業(じゅぎょう)出席(しゅっせき)しなくとも教師(きょうし)はきちんと授業(じゅぎょう)(すす)めていくべきだ。

    Even if students do not attend, the teacher should proceed with the lesson.

    • どんなことになろうとも国家(こっか)破産(はさん)するのはまずありえない。

      No matter what, it is impossible for a country to go bankrupt.

      • どんなタバコ()であろうとも(あか)ちゃんができたら()わけにはいかない。

        No matter how much you like cigarettes, if you get pregnant you can't smoke.

        • ため(いき)()ようとも仕事(しごと)はやり()げなければなりません。

          Even if you sigh, you must get some work done.

          • 頂点(ちょうてん)には(とど)かなくとも()けるところまで()ってみよう。

            Even if we don't reach the summit, let's try to go as far as we can.

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            とも – Grammar Discussion

            Most Recent Replies (1 in total)

            • dokidokiwakuwaku


              Can someone explain the difference in usage between this form and つつも? Thank you!

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