I'm Struggling to Translate This Sentence

I’m reading Doraemon vol.1 and came across this sentence that I have no idea to translate so that it makes sense can someone help? If it’s any use, it’s when Nobita meets Doraemon.

The sentence:

When I looked on Jisho it said the いっぺん translates to right away,
聞かれて to my knowledge means listen,
and 困る is to be troubled.

Any and all help is appreciated.


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Let’s see if I can fill in the missing bits:

いっぺんに - Like you said, it’s “straight away” いっぺんに - Jisho.org (sorry for my wrong take the first time around)

聞かれ - 聞く means “hear”, “ask” or “listen”. Here it’s in passive voice, therefore “hear” can be ruled out. I’d go for “being asked”

ても - even if

困る - to worry

な。- this is a negative command, “don’t!”

All together: “Even if you’re asked straight away, don’t worry.” would be my take on it (without knowing the context)


While possible this feels more like the な that points a statement at oneself. I can’t be sure without more context of course.

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I’ll try to give some context. The scene goes like this, Nobita is in his room when he hears Doraemon speaking to him. He is frantically looking around to see who is talking to him and that’s when he shows himself to Nobita. From here the conversation goes like this:

D: ぼくだけど、気にさわったかしら。
N:だ、だれだっ!? どこから来たんだ。なにしに。。。ど、ど、どうしてこんなところから。
Then I think doreamon says the next line: いっぺんに聞かれても困るな。

I hope this is more helpful


I’ve posted context now. Hope that helps more.

It’s also early enough in the digital edition you can see the context with the free preview.


I think it’s Doraemon saying like, “gee it’s tough to answer when you ask everything all at once”
i.e. いっぺんに聞かれて is to be asked questions all at once,
and Doraemon’s the one having that happen to him and is therefore こまる.
(and then he goes on to try to explain from a different angle without answering his questions up front)

I found Doraemon surprisingly difficult for a long time, because it’s pretty much wall-to-wall dialogue like this that’s expecially tricky for non-native learners. I’d recommend trying to key off of the visual context as much as possible to help with what’s happening.


Oh, I thought it cannot be that one after dictionary form. The more you know :laughing: Thanks!

As a follow-up, this has kind of bugged me for a bit – can you explain how/why ても is used here? I understand the sentence, but it seems like explanations of ても that I see always describe it as some variation on “even if,” and it’s used in that sense sometimes, but then I frequently come across it places like this where it feels like it’s far more natural to just think of it as “if.” Like, if you pile questions on all at once, that is tough. It’s not really… unexpected, or whatever word I’m looking for.

I mean, I get that the goal isn’t to directly translate and I can usually feel these sentences out with context, but that bit always gives me pause and makes me feel like the “even if” translation isn’t quite capturing what ても actually does, or I’m just thinking about it the wrong way.

I confess I side-stepped bringing that up since I’m not especially sure about it either. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I think though, I figure it’s like てもいい.
If he said いっぺんに聞かれてもいい, it would be like, “you can ask everything at once, it’s fine” and then carefully answer every question. And it might be more recognizable since that form is usually taught as a grammar point.
So いっぺんに聞かれてもこまる could be like the reverse - “if you ask everything all at once, I’ll be put out”/“you shouldn’t ask everything all at once”

Just what I figure off-hand though, haven’t looked for sources to confirm directly.

I could probably buy it if someone argued he’s saying like, “even if you ask everything all at once, it doesn’t help me explain it.” But I figure at least in my own mental calculus, も is a light enough operator, so-to-speak, that it often ends up in places that aren’t as forceful as “if” or “even if” sounds in English.

In my head at least, も generally adds something to a possability space, so to speak. Like some things こまる and now we just know いっぺんに聞かれて is one of those too.
Sometimes, like in the “even if” senses, or てもいい, the implication then is that the reverse was already in that possibility space. If we already assume 食べてない is いい, 食べてもいい adds 食べてる to what’s いい and assures us it’s fine to eat or not eat. So “you can eat” or “even if you eat, it’s fine” etc.
So since I have no reason to think not being asked a bunch of questions all at once would trouble Doraemon, adding “being asked a bunch of questions all at once” to the list of things that troubles Doraemon pretty much just notes that neutrally. With も not doing a whole lot in this case that’s easily expressible in English.

Like I guess what I mean is to me the “even if” translation feels almost like a common side-effect of how も/ても work rather than something that maps directly to what the particle is doing.

Does that track at all? Again, I’m just kind of rambling from my own reading instincts so I’d be happy to be contradicted.


Yeah, thank you, sorry to drag you into the details of this, haha. I think I more or less get what you’re saying. I was basically looking for a better way to try to conceptualize of this stuff than the simple English translation given, so that helps. Much appreciated.

That’s pretty much the exact feeling I had, that it’s probably a way to express it to English speakers that is often close enough, but they’re not exactly actually doing the same thing. There are likely just cases where it does happen to work out that way, but sometimes you have to twist the logic around. So yeah, that exact thought you’re expressing is why I wanted to ask.

I found this explanation from the Maggie-Sensei website, if it helps at all.


I guess 〜てもいい can be thought of as a variation of the regular 〜ても (even if) form, right? “even if you X, it’s fine” == “it’s fine to X / you may X”

But that feels like thinking in terms of translation and not the actual nuance :frowning: .

I think on reflection I shouldn’t have compared this usage to てもいい so directly, since Doraemon’s ultimately just talking about himself with 聞かれて. I don’t think you would give permission (or the reverse) with the passive like that.
But I do think of てもいい as the same as the “even if” ても, ultimately, even if (har har) it would be awkward to translate it that same way in English all the time.

What’s tricky I think is just how much what’s said implies about the flipside of the coin.
“even if you ask me all at once, I’ll have trouble (answering)” definitely implies that if it weren’t asked all at once, he’d still have trouble answering (and implies that asking all at once would help in some way which doesn’t really make sense to me but I guess could to Doraemon).
My gut is that Doraemon would be fine with answering them one-by-one (although when that does happen, he comedically disregards them or gets distracted), or just going ahead without answering any questions at all, and that getting asked all at once is what’s giving him trouble, not a possible solution.
And my gut also is that ても doesn’t inherently imply as much about the flipside as “even if” does. So that gels with my read on the situation in that way. Like to my gut, the flipside implications of “even if” definitely trump situational context, but the flipside implications of the situational context trump those of “ても.”

But my gut could certainly be wrong. Maggie-sensei’s answer there does more work getting the sentence to where the “even if” makes sense (if Doraemon literally said “I won’t be able to answer them right away” instead of こまる the “even if” would be a slam dunk since the flipside implication would be totally acceptable, since the “all at once” would clearly help with “right away”), and her gut is surely more honed than mine, so it may just be I’m understimating the weight of the も’s implication here (but I’m not positive).

I was curious to find other examples, so I tried searching for a clearly bad thing + temo + こまる with “死んでも困ります,” and I found an example from a March 2020 article:


and while I don’t really agree with the larger point that was being made (especially in hindsight), it’s maybe a good example since I feel like it’s definitely not saying “even if the economy dies, that’s bad for us.” It’s more like pointing out the economy dying is another possible danger.
Whereas if 死ぬ was something awesome, the “even” sense would be very strong with the same construction.

So I figure ても’s always “if X then Y,” it’s just the specifics of X and Y that informs the nuance of if it’s “even if X then Y,” “also if X, then Y,” or more neutral. (and the Doraemon example feels off-hand and neutral to me).

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Wanted to revive this real quick because I came across the exact ても question within an article on Satori Reader, and wanted to share how they explain it, in case this helps anyone:


"You might understandably wonder about the use of “even if” here. Usually, with “even if / even though,” we expect some sort of contradiction: “Even if I go to Hawaii, I won’t enjoy it.”

But in the sentence above, there doesn’t seem to be any contradiction: Being asked something all the sudden seems totally compatible with being uncomfortable, right?

The way to reconcile this is to realize that the contradiction is between what the speaker wishes he or she could do and the reality . In other words, “You’re asking me out of the blue – even though I wish I had a ready response, I don’t, and that puts me in a bind.”"