How to use でも ( = demo)

「魚でも日本語の先生になれますか?」

= Sakana demo nihongo no sensei ni naremasu ka?

= Even a fish can be a Japanese teacher?

 

 

Hi, everyone!

We are your guest teachers for today, Sakana (Fish) Sensei! 

We are going to teach you how to use でも ( = demo)

We will teach you the basic usages and also the one that may not cover in your text book.

 :pinkcandy2:  How to use: 

1.  but:  

There are a few ways to say “but / however”  in Japanese.

けれども ( = keredomo) 

けど  ( = kedo) 

が  ( = ga)

だが ( = daga)

しかし ( = shikashi)

しかしながら ( = shikashinagara), etc.

 Unlike けれども ( = keredomo) けど ( = kedo) ( = ga), you can’t connect sentence with でも ( = demo) .

 I am busy today but I am free tomorrow.

 :rrrr: 今日は忙しいけれども、明日は暇です。

= Kyou wa isogashii keredomo, ashita wa hima desu.

 :rrrr: 今日は忙しいけど、明日は暇です。(casual/more conversational) 

= Kyou wa isogashii ashita wa hima desu.

 :rrrr: 今日は忙しい、明日は暇だ。(written form) 

= Kyou wa isogashii ga, ashita wa hima da. 

You can’t connect sentences with でも( = demo).

X 今日は忙しいでも、明日は暇です。(wrong)

= Kyou wa isogashii demo, ashita wa hima desu.

You say something first and then start a new sentence with でも ( = demo). 

今日は忙しいです。でも明日は暇です。

= Kyou wa isogashii desu. Demo ashita wa hima desu.

You can also start a sentence with しかし ( = shikashi) / だが ( = daga)  but  compared to them, でも ( = demo) is much more casual. 

しかし ( = shikashi) / だが ( = daga) is used more in writing.

でも ( = demo) is for casual conversation. 

 It would be unnatural to use しかし ( = shikashi) in conversation.

:?:  今日は忙しいです。しかし明日は暇です(Not natural in conversation.)

= Kyou wa isogashii desu. Shikashi ashita wa hima desu.

 or

  :?:  今日は忙しいです。だが明日は暇です。(Also not natural.)

= Kyou wa isogashii desu. Daga ashiat wa hima desu.

 しかし ( = shikashi) / だが ( = daga) are used for more formal writing/speech. 

 Ex. インターネットは情報を集めるのにとても便利だ。しかしネット上の全ての情報が正しいとは限らない。

= Intaanetto wa jouhou wo atsumeru noni totemo benrida. Shikashi netto jou no subete no jouhou ga tadashii to wa kagiranai.

= Internet is very convenient for gathering information. However, the information on the internet is not always correct.

 (1) A is  ~ . But B is ~  (Showing the contrast/something paradoxical)

Ex. 母は私に厳しい。でも弟には優しい。

= Haaha wa watashi ni kibishii. Demo otouto niwa yasashii .

= My mom is strict with me. But she is sweet to my little brother.

 Ex. 今日はいいお天気だったね。でも明日は雨が降るみたいだよ。

= Kyou wa ii otenki dattane. Demo ashita wa ame ga furu mitai dayo.

= The weather was lovely today. But I heard it was going to rain tomorrow. 

 Ex. 彼女はきれいだよ。でも性格がちょっと*… 

= Kanojo wa kirei dayo. Demo seikaku ga chotto ne…

= She is beautiful. But she has some problems with her personality. 

(*ちょっと( = chotto): You finish the sentence with ちょっと( = chotto) to avoid straight forward way to say  性格が悪い ( = seikaku ga warui) to have a bad personality.)

Ex. 日本食は好きです。でも納豆は苦手です。

= Nihonoshoku wa suki desu. Demo nattou wa nigate desu.

= I like Japanese food. But I am not fond of Natto*. (*fermented soybeans)

 Ex. 試合に負けちゃったね。でもみんなよくがんばったよ。

= Shiai ni makechatta ne. Demo minna yoku ganbatta yo.

= It’s too bad that we lost the game. But everybody did their best.

 (2) When you object/talk back to someone/ deny what someone said 

 Ex. 母:「早く寝なさい!」

Haha = Hayaku nenasai.

Mother = Go to bed already! 

B: 子供「でも、まだ宿題が終わってないもん*。」

Kodomo = Demo, mada shukudai ga owate nai mon.

Child = But I haven’t done my homework yet.

Note: Children or young girls use もん ( = mon) suffix when they make their point.

 Ex. A: 「今日は割り勘ね。」

= Kyou wa warikan ne.

= We split the check today. 

B:でも、この間、お昼をおごってくれるって言ったじゃない」

= Demo, konoaida, ohiru wo ogotte kurerutte ittajenai.

= But the other day you said you were going to treat me to lunch.

 (3) When you add more information to the previous sentence and don’t just negate it.

 Ex. 犬が好きです。でも猫も好きです。

= Inu ga suki desu. Demo neko mo suki desu.

= I like dogs. But I also like cats. 

 Ex. 彼の気持ちもよくわかります。でも彼にはもっと強くなってほしいです。

= Kare no kimochi mo yoku wakarimasu. Demo kare ni wa motto tsuyoku natte hoshii desu.

= I understand how he feels. But I want him to become stronger.

 Ex. A: 「やっとケーキが出来た!」

= Yatto keiki ga dekita! 

= I finally finished the cake! 

B: でももっと生クリームをのせた方が美味しくなるよ」

= Demo motto namakuriimu wo noseta hou ga oishiku naru yo.

= But it will be more delicious if you add more whipped cream.

 Ex. A: 「お腹いっぱい!もうこれ以上食べられないよ。」

= Onaka ippai! Mou kore ijou taberarenai yo.

= I am stuffed. I can’t eat anymore! 

B:でもデザートは別腹っていうよ。」

= Demo dezaato wa betsubaratte iu yo.

= But you know we say “there is always room for dessert”

Ex. A: 「あきらくん、りさと結婚するんだって。」

= Akira-kun, Risa to kekkon surun datte.

= I heard Akira will get married to Risa. 

 B:でも付き合っていた彼女はどうなったの?」

= Demo tsukiatte ita kanojo wa dounatta no?

= But what happened to the girl he was dating?

 Ex. A: 「ナオミがいなくなると寂しくなるな。」

= Naomi ga inaku naruto samishiku naruna.

= I am going to miss you when we graduate.

 Naomi:でもすぐまた会えるよ。」

= Demo sugu mata aeru yo.

= But we can see each other soon! 

 2.  ~ and so on / and something: When you suggest something bring up some examples. 

 * noun + (particle) +  でも ( = demo) : something like ~ 

 For example, when you offer someone specifically a cup of tea, you say:

 Ex. お茶飲まない?

= Ocha nomanai?

= Do you want some tea?

 But if you say:

お茶でも飲まない?

= Ocha demo nomanai?

= Would you like some tea or something?

 It sounds softer and gives the listener some other choices. Would you like tea or some other drinks?

 Ex. 次の週末、京都にでも行かない?

= Tsugi no shuumatsu, Kyouto ni demo ikanai?

= Do you want to go to Kyoto or somewhere next weekend?

 Ex. 暇だからゲームでもしようかな。

= Hima dakara geemu demo shiyou kana.

= I am bored. I guess I am going to play a game or something.

 Ex. お腹がすいたの? たこやきでも食べる?

= Onakaga suita no? Takoyaki demo taberu?

Are you hungry? Would you like takoyaki (octopus balls)  or something? 

 Ex. 一人暮らしが寂しいなら猫でも飼ったら? 

= Hitori gurashi ga samishii nara neko demo kattara?

= If you feel lonely living by yourself, why don’t you get a cat?

 Ex. 寝られなかったら本でも読んだら?

= Nerarenakattara hon demo yondara?

= If you can’t sleep, why don’t you read a book or something?

 3. Even ~ 

 * noun + でも ( = demo) 

 Ex. マギー先生のサイトでは魚でもゲスト先生になれます。

= Maggie Sensei no saito de wa sakana demo gesuto sensei ni naremasu.

= Even fish can be a guest teacher on Maggie Sensei’s site.

 Ex. 宿題は、明後日でもいいですか?

= Shukudai wa, asatte demo ii desu ka?

= Do you mind if I turn in my homework the day after tomorrow?

 Note: For more usage of でもいい ( = demo ii), check out this lesson!

Ex. これでもがんばっているつもりだよ。

= Kore demo ganbatte iru tsumori dayo.

= literal translation (Even this, I think I am doing my best.)

= It may not seem good enough but I am doing my best. 

 4. AでもBでも = A demo  B demo = even A and B

 Ex. 忘年会には、お菓子でも飲み物でも好きなものをなんでも持ってきてください。

= Bouennkai niwa, okashi demo nomimono demo sukina mono wo nandemo motte kite kudasai.

Please bring snacks, drinks or whatever you like to the year end party. 

 Ex. この料理にはマヨネーズでもケチャップでもなんでも好きなものをつけてください。

= Kono ryouri ni wa mayoneezu demo kechappu demo nandemo sukina mono wo tsukete kudasai.

= You can put mayo, ketchup or anything you want for this dish.

 Ex. 今日でも明日でもいいから充電コード買ってきてね。

= Kyou demo ashita demo ii kara juuden koodo katte kitene.

= It doesn’t matter whether you do it today or tomorrow but get a charging cable for me, OK?

5. verb te-form V ( = te) + でも( = demo) at all costs, by all means/you want to do something even doing something extreme. In order to achieve something, you even do something extreme.:expressing one’s strong desire or will

 It sounds stronger than Vても( =temo) / でも(=demo) 

 Ex. 友達にうそをついてでも彼に会いたかった。

= Tomodachi ni uso wo tuite demo kare ni aitakatta.

= Even I lie to my friends, I wanted to see him.

 (It shows stronger will than うそをついても( = uso wo tsuitemo) 

 Ex. 徹夜で勉強してでもこの試験には受からないといけない。

Tetsuya de benkyou shite demo kono shiken ni wa ukaranai to ikenai.

= Even I study all night long, I have to pass this exam.

 Ex. 何としてでもチケットが欲しい。

= Nanto shite demo chiketto ga hoshii.

= No matter what it takes, I want the ticket.

6. Any ~ 

How to form:

* interrogative pronoun + (particle) + でも ( = demo): any ~ /whatever, whichever, whoever, where

 Ex. A: 「明日、どこに行きたい?」

= Ashita, doko ni ikitai ?

= Where do you want to go tomorrow?

 B: 「どこでもいいよ。」

= Dokodemo ii yo.

= Anywhere is fine with me.

 Ex. こんな仕事は誰に*でもできるよ。

= Konna shigoto wa dareni demo dekiru yo.

= Anybody can do this job.

 * You can also say でもできる( = daredemo dekiru)

In case you wonder, you sometimes use a particle ( = ni) with potential form or a verb which has a potential meaning.

 For example,

私が出来る= watashi ga dekiru

出来ることならなんでもやります。

= Watashi ni dekiru koto nara nandemo yarimasu.

= If it’s anything I am able to do, then I’ll do it. 

 マギーはわかる ( = Maggie wa wakaru)

マギーわかるかな。

= Maggie ni wakaru kana.

= I wonder if Maggie understands.

 For more usages of: interrogative word  + particle  (+ verb + ) ても( = temo ) でも ( = demo) 

 check out this lesson

 ***

 マギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

 魚先生、ありがとう!

= Sakana sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you  Sakana-Sensei! 

 もっと日本語を勉強したかったら私のTwitterでもPatreonでもフォローしてね。

= Motto nihongo wo benkyou shitakattara watashi no Twitter demo Patreon demo forrou shite ne.

= If you want to study more, follow me on Twitter, Patreon and something.

 ***

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Audio Files for this lesson

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33 Comments

  1. Hello Maggie-sensei.
    Thank you for the lesson.
    Only skim through it, but I think I know the gist of it (maybe XP)
    My question is : 手札は少しでも多くでもあったほうがいいのだ。
    In this case, でも here means something like, even a little or more should be better to have?

  2. Hi Maggie,

    Thanks for this lesson! For some reason I really struggle with でも when it’s not the “but” meaning :)

    Peter.

  3. Hello Maggie sensei !
    There are two sentences where I am not sure of understanding demo correctly
    「とりあえず,先生と基礎練習でもしかない」 and 「2秒でも早く寝ってください」
    Can you help, please ?

      1. Hi ピエール!
        とりあえず先生と基礎練習でもやるしかない
        There is no choice but doing the basics (basic practice/exercises) with my teacher for now.
        This でも brings up an example what you can do for now.

        2秒でも早く寝てください
        Please go to bed as soon as possible. (literal translation “even two seconds earlier” This でも means “even”)

  4. Hello, Maggie Sensei!

    I found out about your website yesterday, and I am 100% in love with it. This is probably the best of the best that I have ever come across when it comes to teaching Japanese. The amount and depth of the knowledge you have, the simple and easy-to-understand way you write, the contexts and examples you create, everything is just PERFECT!

    Greetings from Brazil!

    1. Hi Lucas U

      ありがとう!
      Your message made me SO HAPPY and I am jumping up and down. ☺️
      Hope you visit this site again and again.

  5. Can you help me out?
    Is the particle で in お茶でも飲まない?the one from である?
    Literally, the question says “even being tea you don’t drink (beverages)?

    1. It will be better to think でも as one particle in this case.
      But there are cases that だ/である → also で+ も

      彼は父だ / 彼は父である。

      彼は父でもある。
      (Beside being ~ ) He is also a father.

  6. Your lessons are really helpful! I hope you continue teaching us. I just came here in Japan last January 24 and I’ll be living here for a year. I’m lucky that I get to work here in this country without any JLPT qualifications but I really want to learn. this website is really helping me Thank you so much Maggie sensei!

  7. Maggie Sensei, how do you say “something of” in Japanese?

    Your grandmother is something of a poet.

    Your perfomance in the game was something of a disappointment.

    1. Hello Dwi,

      It depends.
      Your grandmother is something of a poet.
      In this case “ちょっとした” works
      ちょっとした詩人だね。(positive nuance)

      something of a disappointment.
      かなりがっかりした (negative)

  8. Thank you very much for this lesson, as well as for your other lessons too!

    This site is now one of my top resources for learning Japanese. Gonna use it a lot hehe

  9. I see. I was wondering if there are any differences between みたいな and って 感じ at the end of the sentence. And when they are used both one after the other みたいな って 感じ?

    1. Ah your example sentence?
      店員みたいなって感じる… should be 店員みたいだなって感じる = I feel like I am a clerk/waiter/waitress.
      That’s a very common pattern.

      1. Maggie Sensei,

        Thank you very much for your help!💕

        Recently I started watching Japanese shows with subtitles to pick up some conversational phrases and patterns, and immediately got confused with a number of sentence finals that don’t change the meaning as it is but, maybe, add some nuances, I don’t know…

        Here I mean tte kanji, mitai na, toka, teka, etc.

        In the Internet I found the speaker uses tte kanji when they don’t want to be conclusive, like “I feel that way. Am I right?” I also read “mitai na” is also a softener at the end of the sentence. Are they kind of the same?
        I also came across sentences with both of them one after the other: “… mitai na tte kanji”…
        e.g. 店員みたいなって感じる…

        1. Yes, 感じ is one of very common way to finish the sentence in a vague way among young people.
          When you want to avoid using the straightforward statement, you add 感じ

          Ex. お腹がすいた
          → なんか、お腹がちょっとすいたなって感じ

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