Concessive ーたとしても


#1

Hi everyone,

I’m pretty used to the concessive conditional ーても (“even if…”) but I’ve read that ーたとしても can also be used.

The example given is:-
もし僕が金持ちでも、すぐには問題を解決できないだろう。
もし僕が金持ちだったとしても、すぐには問題を解決できないだろう。
Even if I were rich, I couldn’t solve the problem right away.

(Actually the book says “If I were rich, I could solve the problem right away” but that’s obviously an error - the point is that it’s saying both sentences have the same meaning.)

The problem I have is, the book stops there. It says only that ーたとしても can be used; it doesn’t say when or why you might use it, or what kind of nuance it has. So… anybody have any ideas?


#2

A brief googling suggests 〜たとしても is for the subjunctive. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, google that as well.


#3

Oh, I see. I was confused because ーても can also be translated by the subjunctive (as seen in the example), but I guess, to put it plainly, ーたとしても is always subjunctive and ーても is only sometimes subjunctive. So ーたとしても sort of emphasises the unreality (predictive, hypothetical or counterfactual) nature of the condition.


#4

To add to this after consulting “All about particles, A handbook of Japanese function words”, here they state that one of the meanings of ~ても is ‘even if’ as OP has in the examples, it also states the usages:

'no matter wh- o/ at/ ere etc.'
武田さんは、いくら飲んでも酔わないんですよ。
No matter how much Takeda drinks, he doesn’t get drunk.

‘at the most’ (emphasizing an upper limit)
そのカメラは、高くても5万円くらいでしょう。
At most, that camera will cost around ¥50,000.
(lit. That camera, even if it’s expensive*, will be around ¥50,000.)

Now the noteworthy point about the above two is that they, even if English doesn’t use a subjunctive in translating them, are irrealis to some degree; they don’t reference a real event, at least not entirely. So my two cents on the matter is that the difference might just be that ~ても has a broader usage, in that only in a phrase with the meaning ‘even if’ can ~たとしても be used.

PS. * Here I think that ‘even if it were expensive’ should work as well. However I’m not too versed in formal English grammar. In my own speech I tend not to use the subjunctive mood.


#5

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