How to use さえ ( = sae)

sae

「あ~このレポートさえ終われば外で遊べるんだけど….」

= Aah.. kono repooto sae owareba soto de asoberun dakedo…

= Ahh, all I have to do is to finish this report and I can go out and play but….

Hello everyone!

Today’s guest teacher is this super cute Vinnie Sensei.

He will teach you how to use さえ ( = sae)

Vinnie Sensei よろしくね!

= Vinnie sensei yoroshikune!

= Vinnie Sensei, please go ahead!

*********************************

はじめまして、Vinnieです。

= Hajimemashite, Vinnie desu.

= Nice to meet you. I’m Vinnie.

今日は初めてのレッスンですが、がんばります。

= Kyou wa hajimete no ressun desu ga, ganbarimasu.

= Today is my first lesson, but I will do my best.

So as Maggie Sensei said, I will teach you how to use さえ ( = sae)

 

!star! How to form

noun + さえ ( = sae) = even ~

Ex. マギーさえ = Maggie sae

:rrrr: to emphasize more

noun + さえ ( = desae)

Ex. マギーさえ= Maggie de sae

:rrrr: to emphasize even more

noun + さえ ( = de sae mo)

Ex. マギーさえ ( = Maggie de sae mo)

noun + other particle + さえ ( = sae)

Ex. マギーさえ  ( = Maggie ni sae)

Ex. マギーさえ  ( = Maggie to sae)

Ex. マギーからさえ  ( = Maggie kara sae), etc.

verb

The form of the verb changes depending on the usage of さえ  ( = sae)

(1) nominalize a verb

1) plain form +   ( = no)

Ex. 行く ( = iku) to go + ( = no)

:rrrr: 行くさえ ( = iku no sae)

2) plain form + こと ( = koto)

Ex. 行く( = iku) to go + こと ( = koto)

:rrrr: 行くことさえ ( = Iku koto sae)

3) verb plain form ( + こと(  = koto) ) +   other  particle + さえ  ( =sae)

Ex. 行くさえ ( = iku to sae) , etc.

(2) verb (= te) form + さえ  ( = sae)

Ex. 行く(= iku) to go

:rrrr: 行って ( = itte) + さえ ( = sae)

:rrrr: 行ってさえ ( = itte sae)

Ex. する  ( = suru) to do

:rrrr: してさえ  ( = shitesae)

Ex. 来る  ( = kuru) to come

:rrrr: 来てさえ  ( = kisae)

(3)

1) make ます ( = masu) form

Ex. 行きます ( = ikimasu)

2) delete ます ( = masu) and add さえ ( = sae)

Ex. 行き (= iki) + さえ ( = sae)

:rrrr: 行きさえ ( = iki sae)

Ex. する ( = suru) to do

:rrrr: さえ  ( = shisae)

Ex. 来る  ( = kuru) to come

:rrrr: さえ  ( = kisae)

**************************************

!heartsippai! How and when to use さえ ( = sae)

1) even so much as, not even

:rrrr: noun / “nominalized verb  (の  ( = no ) / こと ( = koto) ) +  ( で  ( = de)) + さえ  ( = sae)

(1) even, so much as,

Ex. このロボットは走ることさえできます。

= Kono robotto wa hashiru koto sae dekimasu.

= This robot can even run.

Ex. 現代は、小さな子供でさえストレスを抱えているらしい。

= Gendai wa, chiisana kodomo de sae sutoresu wo kakaete iru rashii.

= I heard even little children feel stressed.

Ex. 10年経った今でさえ、あの頃のことを思い出すと辛い。

= Juunen tatta ima desae, ano koro no koto wo omoidasu to tsurai.

= Even now after ten years, it hurts when I remember those days.

Ex. 日本語をまだ始めたばかりでひらがなを読むことさえまだ難しいです。

= Nihongo wo mada hajimeta bakari de hiragana wo yomu koto sae mada muzukashii desu.

= I just started to study Japanese and even reading hiranaga is still difficult for me.

Ex. 食費さえけちって旅行代を貯めた。

= Shokuhi sae kechitte ryokoudai wo tameta.

= I even skimped on food and saved up for the trip.

Ex. マギー先生は、犬語だけではなく猫語さえできた。(ニャー!(=^・ω・^)y)

= Maggie sensei wa, inugo dake dewa naku nekogo sae dekita. (Nya-!)

= Maggie Sensei could speak not just dog language but also cat language. (Meow!)

*even + quote

:rrrr: quote + と ( = to)  + さえ ( = sae)

Ex. 彼女は僕のことを好きだとさえ言ったのに…

= Kanojo wa boku no koto wo suki dato sae itta noni…

= She even said she liked me….

(2) not even

Ex. 長年、英語を勉強していても自己紹介さえ英語でできない人が多い。

= Naganen, eigo wo benkyou shiteitemo jikoshoukai sae eigo de dekinai hito ga ooi.

= There are many people who have been studying English for a long time, but they can’t even give a self-introduction.

Ex. 簡単な問題でさえわからない。

= Kantanna mondai de sae wakaranai.

= I don’t understand even easy questions.

Ex. 日本語能力試験1級は日本人でさえ難しい。

= Nihongo nouryokushiken ikyuu wa nihonjin de sae muzukashii.

= JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) Level 1 is difficult even for Japanese.

Ex. 寝坊したので牛乳を飲む時間さえなかった。

= Nebou shita node gyuunyuu wo nomu jikan sae nakatta.

= I overslept so I didn’t even have a time to drink milk.

Ex. 恥ずかしくて彼の目を見ることさえできなかった。

= Hazukashikute kare no me wo miru koto sae dekinakatta.

= I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t even look in his eyes.

Ex. 先生は、私の名前さえ覚えていなかった。

= Sensei wa, watashi no namae sae oboete inakatta.

= The teacher didn’t even remember my name.

Ex. 子猫は警戒してミルクを飲みさえしない。

= Koneko wa keikai shite miruku wo nomisae shinai.

= The kitten is so cautious and it doesn’t even drink milk.

Ex. 歯が痛くてお粥さえ食べられない。

= Haga itakute okayu sae taberarenai.

= My tooth hurts so bad that I can’t even have rice porridge.

Ex. 親でさえも彼がなにを考えているかわからなかった。

= Oya de sae mo kare ga nani wo kangaete iru ka wakaranakatta.

= Even his parents didn’t know what he was thinking about.

Note: You can replace it with すら  ( = sura). すら  ( = sura) is slightly more formal and literal.

not even + V + where/who/whether /how

:rrrr: V  + さえ  ( = ka sae)

Ex. 彼がどこに住んでいるのさえわからない。

= Kare ga doko ni sundeiru no ka sae wakaranai.

= I don’t even know where he lives.

Ex. 酔っぱらっていたので自分がどうやって家に帰ったのさえ覚えていなかった。

= Yopparatte ita node jibun ga douyatte ie ni kaetta no ka sae oboete inakatta.

= I was so drunk that I didn’t even remember how I got home.

Ex. あまりに部屋が散らかっていてどこから掃除を始めたらいいのさえわからない。

= Amari ni heya ga chirakatteite doko kara souji wo hajimetara ii no ka sae wakaranai.

= My room is so messy that I don’t even know where to begin cleaning.

Note :

You can combine さえ  ( = sae) with some other particles. Basically it adds the meaning of “even

particle  に ( = ni)

Ex. 彼は子供に冷たい

= Kare wa kodomo ni tsumetai.

= He is cold towards children.

 :u:

に  ( = ni) + さえ ( = sae)

:u:

彼は子供にさえ冷たい。

= Kare wa kodomo ni sae tsumetai.

= He is cold even towards children

☆  particle と  ( = to)

Ex. Vinnieはゲスト先生になってもいいよと言った。

= Vinnie wa gesuto sensei ni natte mo iiyo to itta.

= Vinnie said he would be a guest teacher.

:u:

と ( = to) + さえ ( = sae)

Vinnieはゲスト先生なってもいいよとさえ言った。

= Vinnie wa gesuto sensei ni natte mo iiyo to sae itta.

= Vinnie even said he would be a guest teacher.

2) conditional さえば  ( = sae ~ ba) / さえたら  ( = sae ~ tara)

:rrrr: if only, all you have to do is ~ / all I need is to ~ / as long as ~ / if you just ~

Ex. Vinnieさえよけれ日本語の先生になってくれませんか?

= Vinnie sae yokereba nihon no sensei ni natte kuremasen ka?

= If it’s OK with you, Vinnie, can you be my (our) Japanese teacher?

Ex. あなたさえ側にいてくれたら私は幸せです。

= Anata sae soba ni ite kuretara watashi wa shiawase desu.

=As long as you are next to me, I will be happy.

(stressing あなた   ( = anata) you)

:u:

Ex. あなたが側にいてくれさえたら私は幸せです。

= Anataga soba ni ite kuresae shitara watashi wa shiawase desu.

=As long as you are next to me, I will be happy.

(stressing あなたが側にいてくれる ( = anata ga soba ni ite kureru) your being next to me)

Ex. パーティーには顔さえだしてくれれいいです。

= Paatii niwa kao sae dashite kurereba ii desu.

= All you have to do is to make an appearance (= show your face) at the party

Ex. チケットさえあれ入れます。

= Chiketto sae areba hairemasu.

= All you need is a ticket to get in.

Ex. ミキサーさえあれ誰でも簡単に作れます。

= Mikisaa sae areba dare demo kantan ni tsukuremasu.

= All you need is a blender. Anybody can make it easily.

Ex. 授業に毎日出席さえすれ単位が取れる。

= Jugyou ni mainichi shusseki sae sureba tan’i ga toreru

= If you just attend the class everyday, you can get credits.

Ex. お金さえあれ幸せというわけではない。

= Okane sae areba shiawase toiu wake dewa nai.

= It is not true that we would be happy if we only had money.

With verbs :

Ex. あやまりさえすれいいなんて思わないでね。(female speech)

= Ayamari sae sureba iinante omowanai dene.

= Don’t think just apologizing is enough.

Ex. 息子が学校に行きさえすればそれで十分です。

= Musuko ga gakkou ni ikisae sureba sorede juubun desu.

= All I need it my son to go to school. That’s enough.

Ex. 私がもっと家事を手伝いさえすれば妻も満足だろう。

= Watashi ga motto kaji wo tetsudai sae sureba tsuma mo manzoku darou.

= If I only help housework more, my wife will be happy.

Ex.

さえのに  ( = sae ~ ba ~ noni) / さえ~たら~のに ( = sae ~ tara~ noni) / さえ~ば  ( = sae ~ ba)

Bringing up what you don’t (didn’t) have/ what is impossible at the moment and express your disappointments, regrets or desire.

Ex. この問題さえ解けたら100点だったのに

= Kono mondai sae toketara hyakuten datta noni.

= If only I could have solved this problem, I could have had a perfect score.

Ex. 時間さえあれ一緒にVinnie先生と遊びに行けるのに

= Jikan sae areba issho ni Vinnie sensei to asobini ikeru noni.

= If only I had time, I would be able to go out with Vinnie.

Ex. あと1万円さえあれ新しいiPadが買えるのに

= Ato ichimanen sae areba atarashii iPad ga kaeru noni.

= If only I had 10,000 yen more, I could buy a new iPad.

Ex. パスワードさえ思い出せれこのデータが取り出せるのに

= Pasuwaado sae omoidasereba kono deeta ga toridaseru noni.

= If only I could remember my password, I could get the data.

Ex. 辞書さえ使えたら試験に受かったのに

= Jisho sae tsukaetara shiken ni ukatta noni.

= If only I could have used a dictionary, I could have passed the exam.

When you are talking about  some status, you use

 !star! Verb (-form)  さえ +  〜ば/たら ( = ba/ tara)

= Verb  (te-form) sae +  ~ ba/ tara

= If only ~

When someone/something fulfill  certain condition, you will get a preferable result.

When someone/something fulfill certain condition, that will be sufficient/good enough

Ex. あなたはそこで笑ってさえいてくれたらいいです。

= Anata wa soko de waratte sae ite kuretara iidesu.

= You just be there and smile. That’s all I need.

Ex. 静かにしてさえいればまた連れてきてあげる。

= Shizukani shite sae ireba mata tsurete kite ageru.

= I will bring you here again if you only keep quiet.

Ex. 1日動かずに寝てさえいたら治るでしょう。

= Ichinichi ugokazu ni netesae itara naoru deshou.

= All you have to do is to stay still in bed for one day to feel better.

Note: Again, if you use this pattern with  のに ( = noni) you can express your disappointment/regret feelings which didn’t happen in the past.

Ex. 彼女が私にそういってさえくれたらこんなことにはならなかったのに。

= Kanojo ga watashi ni souitte sae kuretara konna koto niwa naranakatat noni

= If she only had told me, it wouldn’t have turned out like this.

 :rrrr: Verb++ さえくれる・くれない

= Verb+te sae ~ kureru/ kurenai

=Even do something for me/ Not even do something for me.

Ex.彼は私の方を見てさえくれない。

= Kare wa watashi no hou wo mite sae kurenai.

= He doesn’t even look at me.

Note :

All you need to do is to do your homework

can be translated

:u:

1) 宿題をやりさえすればいい

=Shukudai wo yari sae sureba ii

2) 宿題をやってさえいたらいい

= Shukudai wo yatte sae itara ii.

The difference:

1) You are talking about what you need to do from now. (focusing on the future action)

2) You are talking about what you have done and future. (focusing on the current status)

Now we’ll go deeper.

:u:

*******************************

Let’s compare the following sentences, a) ~ d)

:rrrr: a) & b) gives a condition c) & d) shows a regret for what you didn’t do in past.

You stress the word before さえ ( = sae)

:u:

a) マギー先生は宿題さえやったら噛みません。

= Maggie sensei wa shukudai sae yattara kamitsukimasen.

= As long as you do YOUR HOMEWORK, Maggie Sensei won’t bite you.

(stressing 宿題  ( = shukudai) homework)

b) マギー先生は宿題をやりさえすれば噛みません。

= Maggie sensei wa shukudai wo yarisae sureba kamitsukimasen.

= As long as you DO YOUR HOMEWORK , Maggie Sensei won’t bite you.

(stressing 宿題をやる = shukudai wo yaru = to do one’s homework)

********

c) 宿題さえやったらマギー先生に噛みつかれなかったのに。

= Shukudai sae yattara Maggie Sensei ni kamitsukarenakatta noni.

= If I only I had done my HOMEWORK, Maggie Sensei wouldn’t have bit me. (Literally: I wouldn’t have been bitten by Maggie.)

(stressing 宿題  ( = shukudai) homework)

d) 宿題をやりさえしたらマギー先生に噛みつかれなかったのに。

= Shukudai wo yarisae shitara Maggie Sensei ni kamitsukarenkatta noni.

= If I only I HAD DONE MY HOMEWORK, Maggie Sensei wouldn’t have bit me. (Literally: I wouldn’t have been bitten by Maggie.)

(stressing 宿題をやる=shukudai wo yaru = to do one’s homework)

OK, that’s about it.

犬の僕でさえ日本語が教えられるんだからみんなもがんばってね:)

= Inu no boku de sae nihongo ga oshierarerun dakara minna mo ganbattene.

= Even I, who is a dog, can teach Japanese, so you all should try harder.

I will be back here sometime. またね!= Matane! = See you!

****************************************************

maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

私はフレブルに弱いのでまたVinnie先生に近い将来、ゲスト先生として来てもらおうと思います。

= Watashi wa fureburu ni yowai no de mata Vinnie sensei ni chikai shourai, gesuto sensei to shite kite moraou to omoimasu.

= I have a sweet spot for French bulldogs for some reason, I will have him again as a guest teacher in near future.

私が生きてさえいたら彼をデートに誘うんだけど…

= Watashi ga ikite sae itara kare wo deito ni sasoun dakedo…

= If only I were alive, I would ask him out but…

 



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20 Comments

  1. Hello Maggie sensei!

    Thanks a lot for the lesson as well as all the other ones.
    So easy to understand yet so useful and clever!

    I would kindly like to ask if the concept of the phrase:

    恥ずかしくて彼の目を見ることさえできなかった。

    may be communicated with the following:

    彼の目を見ることはできなかったほど/くらい、恥ずかしかった。

    Thanks a lot! :-D

    1. @Daniele
      Hi Daniele
      Yes the basic idea is the same.
      彼の目を見ることはできなかったほど/くらい、恥ずかしかった。
      →彼の目を見ること”が”できなかった is better.

  2. 難しいレッスンで今回は誤字さえ難しいですよ。

    “Kyou wa hajimete no ressunn desuga, ganbarimasu.” :rrrr: “ressun”
    “行き (= iki sae)” :rrrr: “行きさえ”
    “しさえ (= shisase)” :rrrr: “shisae”
    “Amari ni ie ga chirakatteite…” :rrrr: kanji says 部屋, so: “Amarini heya ga chirakatteite…”
    “Ex. パーティーには顔さえ、だしてくれればいいです。
    = Paatii niwa kao sae, dashite kurereba ii desu.” :rrrr: I don’t know about comma in Japanese, but this one seems problematic.
    “Jugyou ni mainichi shusseki sase…” :rrrr: “sae”

    “= Mikisaa sae areba daredemo kantan ni tsukuremasu.
    = All you need is a blender. Anybody can make it easily.” Ok now I’m splitting hairs, but just because I’m curious, you have the word ミキサー for mixer and ブレンダー for blender and 混合機 for both mixer and blender, and yet you use ミキサー for blender too it seems… :-? 絶望した! :)

    And one question about V+ かさえ(=ka sae): In your examples, it’s always V+の+かさえ or Adj.+の+かさえ, so I wonder whether the の is always required.

    よろしくお願いいたします

    1. @Zetsuboumanadeshi

      ありがとう!!直しました!感謝!感謝です!:)
      As for a blender, what I meant was a kitchen appliance (to make a juice,etc). We call it ミキサー in Japanese.

      Vかさえ and Vのかさえ
      You add の when you emphasize.

  3. こんにちは、マギー先生!素晴らしいレッスンを作ってくれてありがとう!文法は私の一番好きな勉強することですよ^^

    質問が2つありますけど。

    1. 「~V+かさえ」と「~V+のかさえ」の違いはなんですか?たとえば:
    -親でさえも彼がなにを考えているかわからなかった。(「親でさえも彼がなにを考えているのかわからなかった。」と同じですか?)
    -彼がどこに住んでいるのかわからない。(「彼がどこに住んでいるかわからない。」と同じですか?)

    2. 「さえ」と「でも」は同じですか?たとえば、
    -このロボットは走ることさえできます/このロボットは走ることでもできます

    1. @Marianne

      こんにちは〜Marianne!

      1. 「~V+かさえ」と「~V+のかさえ」
      -親でさえも彼がなにを考えているかわからなかった。(「親でさえも彼がなにを考えているのかわからなかった。」と同じですか?)
      彼がどこに住んでいるのかわからない。(「彼がどこに住んでいるかわからない。」と同じですか?)
      →はい、意味は同じです。「の」を使うことにより限定的な意味が強まると思います。(By using の, it specifies what you don’t understand more.)

      2. まず、
      1) このロボットは走ることさえできます 
      この文章は合っていますが、
      2) このロボットは走ることでもできます
      は、不自然です。

      多分、Marianneが聞きたい「さえ」と「でも」が同じ様に使える文章は「名詞+でさえ・でも」のことだと思います。

      Even children could understand
      子供でさえわかる。
      子供でもわかる。
      The same meaning but ”でさえ” is stronger and it often brings up an extreme example.

      どうかなあ…

      1. なるほどね。動詞の後にその意味で「でも」を使うのは不自然に聞こえるということですね。説明してくれてありがとう^^

  4. Hi Maggie sensei!

    I’ve seen some sentences beginning with “tada de sae”, but “tada” has a lot of different meanings according to my dictionary. Which one would it be when used with “sae”?

    1. @etoile37

      Hello, etoile37
      ただでさえ = on top of being already something is too ~, something else happens.

      Ex. 電気代はただでさえ高いのにまた高くなった。
      = Denkidai wa tadade sae takai noni mata takaku natta.
      = The electricity is already expensive (and it got worse) and it got raised.

      Ex. ただでさえ寒いのに雪が降った。
      = Tadade sae samui noni yuki ga futta.
      = It was cold enough (and it got worse) and it snowed.

  5. Hi Maggie-Sensei. I’m a little but confused on the conditional part of this lesson. You said “2) conditional さえ~ば (= sae ~ ba) / さえ~たら (= sae ~ tara)

    if only, all you have to do is ~ / all I need is to ~ / as long as ~ / if you just ~” but I can’t tell the difference between any of them. How do you tell what type of translation the sentence is?

    1. @Millz

      Ahhh, OK.

      Note: The difference between ば(=ba) and たら(=tara) is very complicated and I won’t explain the whole difference here.

      1) Aさえ~ば(= A sae ~ ba ) + B
      2) Aさえ~たら (= A sae ~ tara )+ B

      A lot of time the translation is the same ( if only, all you have to do is ~ / all I need is to ~ / as long as ~ / if you just ~ )
      Both 1) and 2) gives certain condition (A) to get the result (B)

      But, I will show you the basic difference here.

      1) Aさえ~ば (= A sae ~ ba)+ B
      To make B happen, you only need to fulfill the condition, A

      Focusing on the condition, A.

      2) Aさえ~たら(= A sae ~ tara) + B
      Only when fulfill the condition A, B will happen/You will get the result B

      Focusing on the result, what is going to happen after the condition.

      As long as I have money, I can do anything.

      Ex. 1) お金さえあればどこでも行ける。
      = Okane sae areba dokodemo ikeru.

      (focusing on the condition, having money)

      Ex. 2) お金さえあったらどこでも行ける。
      = Okane sae attara dokodemo ikeru.

      (focusing on what you want to do with money)

  6. Whooooaa I was starving for a sae lesson!! Very explicative! Thanks a lot!!
    And, only to clarify my head more, can you show me another sentence using the te form with sae? I’ve read the last one “ikite sae ireba” but, can I say for example, “shukudai wo yattesae sureba ii” or does it have to be “yarisae” ? I think the yattesae sounds weird for that sentence, I mean, I see that -te sae more like the -te wa or something like that
    Thank you !heart3!

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