Lesson 99: Even if: ~더라도

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Even if: ~더라도

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
상품 = products/goods
조건 = conditions/stipulations
기자 = journalist
기준 = standard criteria
술집 = bar
죄 = crime
도둑 = thief
튀다 = bounce
연료 = fuel
작가 = writer/author
통일 = unification
공공 = public
질서 = public order
전기 = electricity
입학 = admission to a school

Verbs:
벌이다 = to plan to start to do something
일으키다 = help somebody rise up
바라보다 = look at
기여하다 = contribute
향하다 = face
마치다 = finish
악수하다 = shake hands

Adverbs and Other Words:
국내 = inside the country
반드시 = surely/definitely
전 세계적으로 = worldwide
공간 = space/room (for something)
제대로 = properly
일부 = a part/portion
세기 = century

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to use the ~더라도 as a connector between two clauses to mean “even if.” Though this form sometimes may look similar to “Even though” (~지만) or “If” (~ㄴ/는다면), I will distinguish them for you in this lesson. Let’s get started.

 

Even if: ~더라도

The meaning of ~더라도 is fairly straightforward, as it can almost always be translated to “even if” when placed between two clauses.

When used in the present tense, this principle can be contrasted with ~ㄴ/는다면 (if), which you learned in Lesson 43.

For example:
공부를 한다면 시험을 잘 볼 거예요 = If I study, I will do well on the test
The most natural way to use ~더라도 is in situations where the condition is the same as something that happened in a clause with “if”, but the opposite occurs in the second clause. For example:
공부를 하더라도 시험을 잘 못 볼 거예요 = Even if I study, I will do poorly on the test

날씨가 좋다면 밖에 나갈 거예요 = If the weather is nice, I am going to go outside
날씨가 좋더라도 밖에 안 나갈 거예요 = Even if the weather is nice, I am not going outside

I feel it is a good exercise to compare/contrast these ~ㄴ/는다면 and ~더라도 sentences, just to give you an idea of how they can work.
Contrasting ~ㄴ/는다면 with ~더라도 like this sometimes works. However, sometimes the result is non-sense. For example, if I made this sentence using ~ㄴ/는다면:

술집에 간다면 술을 마실 거예요 = If I go to the bar, I am going to drink alcohol
Using ~더라도, and a clause with the opposite meaning of the sentence above, I could make:
술집에 가더라도 술을 안 마실 거예요 = Even if I go to the bar, I am not going to drink

Both of those sentences make sense. However, if I switched the second clauses of each sentence:

술집에 간다면 술을 마실 거예요 = If I go to the bar, I am going to drink
This sentence would make sense – both grammatically and logically. However, if we wanted to contrast that type of sentence with “~더라도”, and use a clause with the opposite meaning, we would have:
술집에 가더라도 술을 마실 거예요 = Even if I go to the bar, I am going to drink

Grammatically this sentence would be okay, but logically it doesn’t make sense.

Notice that in some cases, “even if” could be substituted with “even though” without a major difference in meaning. If you look at the second pair of examples above, we could also say:

날씨가 좋지만 밖에 안 나갈 거예요 = Even though the weather is nice, I am not going outside

Some sources on the internet will tell you that “더라도” can be translated to “even though.” However, this is not always the case, and I strongly suggest translating “더라도” to “even if” and not “even though.” For example, if we replace “~더라도” with “~지만” in the first pair of sentences above, we get:

공부를 하지만 시험을 잘 못 볼 거예요 = Even though I study, I will do poorly on the test… which sounds unnatural

Anyways, I don’t want you to get too hung up on how it compares and contrasts with other grammatical principles. The meaning and usage of “더라도” is most easily understood if you simply submit to the fact that it means “even if.” The only reason I am trying to make these distinctions is because I had the same questions when I learned about this grammatical principle a few years ago. Let’s look at some examples:

그 여자가 오더라도 그녀랑 얘기를 안 할 거예요 = Even if that girl comes, I’m not going to talk to her
시험을 잘 보더라도 입학하지 못 할 것 같아요 = Even if I do well on the exam, I won’t be able to get into University
차로 가더라도 이미 늦었어요 = Even if we go by car, we are already late
그것을 먹더라도 아직 배가 고플 거예요 = Even if I eat that, I am still going to be hungry
날씨가 춥더라도 꼭 오세요 = Even if it is cold, make sure that you come

This form can also be used in the past tense as well. When used in the past tense, the second clause is usually conjugated using the  ~았/었을 것이다 ending, which was discussed in Lesson 43. Some examples:

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1) 열심히 공부를 했더라도 시험에 떨어졌을 거예요 = Even if I studied really hard for the exam, I would have failed

  •  Contrasted with ~ㄴ/는다면:
    열심히 공부를 했다면 시험을 잘 봤을 거예요 = If I studied really hard for the exam, I would have done well
  •  And to show you that ~더라도 does not mean “even though”:
    열심히 공부를 했지만 시험에 떨어졌을 거예요
    (Even though I studied really hard for the exam, I would have failed) – sounds weird.

 

2) 돈이 있었더라도 그 컴퓨터를 사지 않았을 거예요 = Even if I had money, I wouldn’t have bought that computer

  • Contrasted with ~ㄴ/는다면
    돈이 있었다면 그 컴퓨터를 샀을 거예요 = If I had money, I would have bought that computer
  • And to show you that ~더라도 does not mean “even though”
    돈이 있었지만 그 컴퓨터를 사지 않았을 거예요
    (Even though I had money, I wouldn’t have bought that computer) – sounds weird

 

Okay, lots of information in this lesson, but I can pretty much summarize it all in a couple sentences:

  1. ~더라도 is best translated to “even if”
  2. When you place sentences that contain ~더라도 and ~ㄴ/는다면 beside each other, you can see how they can have opposite, contrasting meanings
  3. You should avoid using “even though” as a translation of ~더라도

That’s it for this lesson!

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