How to use verb + ても ( = temo)

June 22, 2015 in Grammar



= Shady Sensei, nihongo no shitsumon wo shitemo ii desu ka?

= Shady Sensei, may I ask you a Japanese question?


= Shitemo iikedo, kantan nanoni shitene.

= Yes you can, but make it an easy one, OK?

Hi everyone!
Today’s guest teacher is シェイディー先生 (= Shady Sensei) from Edinburgh. He is a handsome 12 years old gentleman feline.
We are so lucky to have all these cute guest teachers!

Nice to meet you, everyone! I am シェイディ(=Shady)
My brother sent me an application to be a guest teacher here.  He will be surprised to see how much Japanese I speak.

OK, today we will study how to use V + ても ( = temo)

!star! How to use

1) Asking for permission

Basic pattern

*V+ても/なくても + いい?= V + temo/nakutemo +  ii? (casual)

*V+ても/なくても + いいですか?= V + temo/nakutemo + ii desu ka? (polite)

*V+ても/なくても + いいでしょうか?= V + temo/nakutemo + iide shouka? (more polite)

*V+ても/なくても + かまいませんか? = V + temo/nakutemo + kamaimasen ka? (more polite)

*V+ても/なくても + よろしいでしょうか? = V + temo/nakutemo + yoroshii deshou ka? (very polite)

Note :

After the letter ( = n)

 :rrrr: you say ( = demo) instead of ても( = temo)

Ex. 読む ( = yomu) to read

 :rrrr: 読ん ( = yondemo)

Ex.飲む ( = nomu) to drink

 :rrrr: 飲ん ( = nondemo)

Ex. これ食べてもいいですか?

= Kore tabete mo ii desu ka?

= May I eat this?

Ex. もう帰ってもいい?

= Mou kaette mo ii?

= Can I go home now?

Ex. また遊びに来てもいい?

= Mata asobini kite mo ii?

= Can I come over again?

Ex. ちょっと質問してもいいですか?

= Chotto shitsumon shite mo ii desuka?

= May I ask you a question?

Ex. ここに駐車してもいいですか?

= Koko ni chuusha shite mo ii desu ka?

= Can I park here?

Ex. 入ってもいいですか?

= Haitte mo ii desuka?

= Can I come in?

Ex. お邪魔してもよろしいでしょうか?

= Ojama shite mo yoroshii deshouka?

= May I come in? / Would you mind if I came in?

Ex. この本、借りてもいい?

= Kono hon, karite mo ii?

= Can I borrow this book?

Note : You can also say

Ex. この本、貸してもらってもいい?

= Konohon, kashite moratte moii?

= Do you mind if I borrow this book?


てもいい ( = temoii) and てもらってもいい ( = temoratte moii)

While てもいい ( = temoii)  is just asking a permission of what you do, てもらってもいい ( = temoratte moii) literally means “Would you allow me to do something” and it has a connotation of “Would you mind me doing something” and sounds more polite.

*negative sentence :  Will it be OK if ~ don’t ~?

Ex. これ、食べなくてもいいですか?

= Kore, tabenakukute mo ii desu ka?

= Is it OK if I don’t eat this? / You don’t mind if I don’t eat this?

Ex. 今日は熱があるから学校に行かなくてもいい?

= Kyou wa netsu ga aru kara gakkou ni ikanakute mo ii?

= I have fever today so is it OK if I don’t go to school today?

Ex. マギー先生、今日は忙しいから宿題をしなくてもいいですか?

= Maggie sensei, kyou wa isogashii kara shukudai wo shinakutemo ii desu ka?

= Maggie Sensei, I am busy today so is it OK if I don’t do my homework?

 :rrrr: From Maggie Sensei


= Iie, donnani isogashikutemo shukudai wa shinakute wa ikemasen.

= No, no matter how busy you are, you have to do your homework.
(Literally: No, no matter how busy you are, you cannot not do your homework.)

2) Giving someone permission:

Ex. わからない言葉があったら辞書を使ってもいいですよ。

= Wakaranai kotoba ga attara jisho wo tsukatte mo ii desuyo.

= If there is  a word that you don’t understand, you can use a dictionary.

Ex. クーラーをつけてもいいよ。

= Kuuraa wo tsuketemo iiyo.

= You can turn on the air conditioner.

Ex. すぐ返してくれるんだったら1万円貸してあげてもいいよ。

= Sugu kaeshite kurerun dattara ichimanen kashite agete mo iiyo.

= I could give lend you 10,000 yen if you return it soon.

Ex. お父さんが帰って来たらケーキを食べてもいいですよ。

= Otousan ga kaette kitara keiki wo tabete mo ii desuyo.

= If your dad comes back home, you can eat the cake.

★negative sentences:

*Giving someone permission not to do something:

Ex. そんなことはしなくてもいいです。

= Sonna koto wa shinakute mo ii desu.

= You don’t need to do such a thing.

Ex. 明日は来なくてもいいです。

= Ashita wa konakute mo ii desu.

= You don’t have to come tomorrow.

You can also say this when you tell people not to do something
( Blaming someone who does/did something)

Ex. そんなことはしなくてもいいです。

= Sonna koto wa shinakute mo ii desu.

= You don’t need to do such a thing. (In other words: “Don’t do that!” )

Ex. もう来なくてもいいよ。
= Mou konakute mo iiyo.

= You don’t have to come here anymore.

(The implication is that the speaker does not want the listener to come here anymore.)

3) Asking for a favor:

:rrrr:  もらっても ( = morattemo) / (polite) 頂いても ( = itadaitemo)

Asking someone to do some favor:

Ex. こちらでお待ち頂いてもいいでしょうか?(Polite)

= Kochira de omachi itadaitemo iide shouka?

= Could you wait here? / Would you mind waiting here?

Ex. ここに名前を書いてもらってもいい?

= Koko ni namae wo kaite moratte mo ii?

(= Can I have you write your name here?)

= Can you write your name here? / Could I have you write your name here?

Ex. 窓を閉めてもらってもいいですか?

= Mado wo shimete moratte mo ii desu ka?

= Can you close the windows? / Do you mind closing the windows?


Though we hear this usage a lot in conversation (especially among young people), this expression may offend some people because it sounds a bit condescending.

:rrrr: The literal meaning of (someone ( = ni) ) something ( = wo) Vてもらう ( = temorau) is “to have someone do something”)

So it would be safer to say:

 :rrrr: お待ち頂けますでしょうか?

= Omachi itadakemasu deshouka?

= Could you wait?

 :rrrr: 名前を書いてくれる?

= Namae wo kaite kureru?

= Can you write your name?

 :rrrr: 窓を閉めてくれますか?

= Mado wo shimete kuremasu ka?

= Could you close the window?

4) even if, although, whether ~ or not:

Ex. おだてても何もでないよ。

= Odatete mo nani mo denai yo,

= (literal  meaning Even if you flatter me, I won’t give you anything.)

= Flattery will get you nowhere.

Ex. 中古のコンピューターを売って下さい。壊れていてもかまいません。

= Chuuko no konpyuutaa wo utte kudasai. Kowareteite mo kamaimasen.

= Please sell me your used computer. I don’t care whether it’s broken or not.

Ex. 今の彼に何を言っても無駄だ。

= Ima no kare ni nani wo itte mo mudada.

= There is no use to telling him anything. / Don’t waste your breath on him.

Ex. そんな高い機械を買っても使わない。

= Sonna takai kikai wo katte mo tsukawanai.

= Even if I bought such an expensive machine, I would not use it.

Ex. 雨が降っても明日はテニスに行く。

= Amega futtemo ashita wa tenisu ni iku.

= Even if it rains, I will go play tennis tomorrow.

Ex. たとえ親に反対されても彼と結婚します。

= Tatoe oya ni hantai saretemo kare to kekon shimasu.

= Even if my parents are against it, I will marry him.

Ex. いつも喧嘩していてもあの二人は仲がいい。

= Itsumo kenka shite ite mo ano futari wa naka ga ii.

= Although they fight all the time, they are very close.

Ex. 今頃行っても銀行はもう閉まっているよ。

= Imagoro itte mo ginkou wa mou shimatte iruyo

= Even if you go now, the bank is already closed. (It is too late.)

Ex. 羊を数えても寝られない。

= Hitsuji wo kazoete mo nerarenai.

= I can’t fall in sleep even if I count sheep.

5) Accepting some deal and giving people conditions:

Ex. 出かけてもいいけど十時までには帰ってきなさい。

= Dekakete mo iikedo juuji made niwa kaette kinasai.

= You can go out but be back by 10:00.

6) whatever /whenever/whichever ~/  No matter how ~ :

Ex. たとえ何があっても僕はマギーの味方だよ。

= Tatoe nani ga atte mo boku wa Maggie no mikata dayo.

= Whatever happens, I am on your side, Maggie.

(You use たとえ ( = tatoe) for hypothetical sentence.)

Ex. どんなに疲れていても毎日、マギー先生のサイトで勉強をします。

= Donnani tsukarete itemo mainichi, Maggie Sensei no saito de benkyou wo shimasu.

= No matter how tired I am, I will study on Maggie Sensei’s site everyday.

Ex. どう考えてもこの政策はおかしい。

= Dou kangaete mo kono seisaku wa okashii.

= No matter how much I think about it, there is something wrong with this policy.

Ex. どんなにあやまっても彼は許してくれなかった。

= Donnani ayamatte mo kare wa yurushite kurenakatta.

= No matter how much I apologized, he didn’t forgive me.

Ex. どんなに働いてもお金が貯まらない時期があった。

= Donnani hataraitemo okane ga tamaranai jiki ga atta.

= There was a time when no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t save any money.

Ex. 彼女は誰が見ても主婦だ。

= Kanojo wa darega mite mo shufu da.

= She is obviously an housewife. (as anyone can see)

Ex. 何をやっても妻に怒られる。

= Nani wo yatte mo tsuma ni okorareru.

= No matter what I do, I make my wife angry.

Ex. 何回聞いてもあの店の名前が覚えられない。

= Nankai kiite mo ano mise no namaega oboerarenai.

= No matter how many times I asked, I can’t remember the name of the place  (store, restaurant, bar, etc.).

Note: Go check this lesson to learn more about this usage.

 :rrrr: Wh-ever/No matter wh/how: ても/でも ( = temo/demo)

7) VてもV ても= V temo V temo

emphasizing the verbs

Ex. 食べても食べてもお腹が減る。

= Tabete mo tabete mo onaka ga heru.

= No matter how much I eat, I get hungry

Ex. 仕事をやってもやっても終わらない。

= Shigoto wo yatte mo yatte mo owaranai.

= No matter how much I work, I can’t get my work done.

Ex. ても覚めても彼女のことばかり考えている。

= Netemo samete mo kanojo no koto bakari kangaete iru.

= I can’t help but thinking about her whether being awake or asleep.

Ex. この魚は煮ても焼いても美味しいです。

= Kono sakana wa nitemo yaitemo oishii desu.

= This fish is delicious whether you boil it or grill it.

Note: There is an expression to describe a person who is really hard to deal with



= nitemo yaite mo kuenai.

= (The literal meaning is you can’t eat this person even if you cook or grill.)

8) といっても= to ittemo  = even though ~ / although

V / N / Adjective (i-adjective  ~い ( = i) / na-adjecitve ~な ( = na) 

+ と言っても/といっても(=toittemo)

(This 言っても (= ittemo) literally means “even though I / we say ~ but the subject doesn’t have to say anything.

*Aといっても ( = to ittemo)  ~

although A +  / Even though A  (emphasizing A)  + something people don’t expect / haven’t expected / something doesn’t follow the rules, something contradicted

Ex. ハワイといっても寒い日もある。

= Hawai to ittemo samui hi mo aru.

Even in Hawaii, there are cold days.

(You might think Hawaii is warm but there are cold days.)

Ex. 寒いといっても雪がふるほどではない。

= Samui to itte mo yuki ga furu hodo dewa nai.

= It is cold but  it is not cold enough to snow.

(It is cold but not that cold)

Ex. 日本語を勉強したことがあるといってもたった半月です。

= Nihongo wo benkyou shita koto ga aru to itte mo tatta hantsuki desu.

= I did study Japanese in past but it’s only for a half month.

(You may think I speak Japanese very well if you hear I have studied Japanese in past but it is only for a half year.)

Ex. 日本人だといってもずっとアメリカに住んでいたので漢字が読めません。

= Nihonjin dato ittemo zutto amerika ni sunde ita node kanji ga yomemasen.

= I AM Japanese but since I used to live in the U.S. for a long time, I can’t read kanji.

(You may expect I can write kanji because I am Japanese, but actually I can’t because I lived in the US.)

Ex. 彼女がいるといっても北極に住んでいるのでなかなか会えない。

= Kanojo ga iru to ittemo Hokkyoku ni sunde iru node nakanaka aenai.

= Although I have a girlfriend, she lives in North pole so I can’t see her so often.

Note :

You can also use ても(=temo) with adjectives.


Adjective + ても ( = temo): even, even if, even though


= Maggie no keiki, chiisakute mo ii?

= Do you mind if your cake is small, Maggie?


= Onaka ga amari suite inai kara chiisakute mo iiyo.

= I am not so hungry so I don’t mind having a small piece.

*For the usage of nounでも(=demo)

Please check my Noun+ で(も)いい vs がいい (noun+de(mo) ii vs ga ii) lesson.


OK, that’s all for my lesson today.

Feel practicing here in the comment section. I will check your Japanese.a


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


= Furenchi burudoggu to ittemo furansugo ga hanaseru wake dewa arimasen.

= Even though I am a French Bulldog, it doesn’t mean I can speak French.

(You may think I can speak French because I am “French” bulldog, but the fact is I can’t.)


= Shady Sensei arigatou!

= Thank you, Shady sensei!


= Mata koko ni oshieni kite ne.

= Please come back here and teach.

À bientôt!  = またね~!= Matane~ ! = See you!!!