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のに (Even Though)

のに (Even Though)

のに (Even Though) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Conjunction

Essential Meaning: Even though / Despite the fact that

Construction: 

  • (Verb / い-Adjective) informal + のに
    • E.g. はなすのに [Even though X speaks]
    • E.g. たかいのに [Even though X is expensive]
  • (な-Adjective Stem / Noun) + [な / だった] + のに
    • E.g. しずかなのに [Even though X is quiet]
    • E.g. 先生せんせいなのに [Even though X is a teacher]

Notes:

  • のに is comprised of the nominalizer plus the particle に and means “In contrast to the fact that”. In the structure Sentence 1 のに Sentence 2, Sentence 1 sets some expectation, and Sentence 2 describes a situation that defies that expectation. The English equivalent would be “Even though X, Y.
    • E.g. 毎日まいにち漢字かんじ勉強べんきょうしているのによくおぼえられない。[Even though I’m studying Kanji everyday, I cannot memorize them well.] In this example, Sentence 1 sets the expectation that the speaker must be good at memorizing Kanji based on the fact that he or she studies everyday. Sentence 2 then defies this expectation by stating that the speaker can’t actually memorize kanji well.
  • In the structure Sentence1 のに Sentence2, the speaker is personally involved with the proposition contained in Sentence 1 (although not necessarily the subject of that sentence), and this personal involvement tends to create some emotive overtone. In other words, のに is speaker-oriented and involves his or her emotion.
    • E.g. 毎日まいにち漢字かんじ勉強べんきょうしているのによくおぼえられない。[Even though I’m studying Kanji everyday, I cannot memorize them well.] This example clearly involves the speaker’s emotions regarding his inability to remember kanji.
  • In casual speech, Sentence 2 may drop if it is obvious based on the context.
    • E.g. A: そんなものらないよ。B: せっかくあげるとうのに? [A: I don’t need that kind of thing. B: Even though I’m saying I’ll give it to you?] In this example, Speaker B doesn’t need to repeat the situation to speaker A because the situation is obvious to both through context.
  • けれども is a very similar expression to のに. The difference is that the presence of in のに indicates that the speaker is emotionally involved with the situation, whereas けれども doesn’t have this nuance. To put it another way, のに is is speaker-oriented and けれども is not. Thus, けれども is prefered over のに in the following hearer-oriented situations:
    • (1) When the main clause expresses a request to the hearer:
      • E.g. *むずかしいのにしてみてください。[Even though it’s difficult, please try.]
      • E.g. むずかしいけれどしてみてください。[Even though it’s difficult, please try.]
    • (2) When the main clause makes a suggestion to the hearer:
      • E.g. *あまり美味おいしくないのにべてみませんか。 [Even though it’s not very delicious, won’t you try eating it?]
      • E.g. あまり美味おいしくないけれどべてみませんか。[Even though it’s not very delicious, won’t you try eating it?]
    • (3) When the main clause asks a question to the hearer:
      • E.g. *さむいのにそとますか。[Even though it’s cold, are you going outside?]
      • E.g. さむいけれどそとますか。[Even though it’s cold, are you going outside?]
      • E.g. さむいのに/けれどそとるんですか。[Even though it’s cold, you’re going outside?] のに is acceptable with a のだ construction.
    • (4) When the main clause makes a command to the hearer:
      • E.g. *つまらないのにみなさい。[Even though it’s boring, read it.]
      • E.g. つまらないけれどみなさい。[Even though it’s boring, read it.]
    • (5) When the main clause expresses a request for permission from the hearer:
      • E.g. *下手へたなのにしてもいいですか。 [Even though I’m bad at it, can I do it?]
      • E.g. 下手へただけれどしてもいいですか。[Even though I’m bad at it, can I do it?]
    • (6) When the main clause expresses intention towards the hearer:
      • E.g. *からないのによくかんがえてみるつもりです。 [Even though I don’t understand, I intend to try and think it through.]
      • E.g. からないけれどよくかんがえてみるつもりです。[Even though I don’t understand, I intend to try and think it through.]
  • is another conjunction that is similar to のに, and the two can generally be interchanged. The difference is that expresses a weaker relationship between Sentence 1 and Sentence 2, and is free from the speaker-oriented restrictions imposed on のに. Also, can be preceded by either a formal or informal sentence, unlike のに.

Example Sentences:

毎日まいにち漢字かんじ勉強べんきょうしているのによくおぼえられない。[Even though I’m studying Kanji everyday, I cannot memorize them well.]

このステーキはたかいのにおいしくない。[Even though this steak is expensive, it tastes bad.]

清水しみずさんはゴルフが下手へたなのに大好だいすきだ。[Even though Shimizu-san is bad at golf, he loves it.]

ホールさんはアメリカじんなのににくきらいだ。[Even though Mr. Hall is an American, he doesn’t like meat.]

中学ちゅうがく高校こうこう六年間ろくねんかん英語えいご勉強べんきょうしたのにまだ英語えいごはなせません。[Even though I studied English for as many as 6 years during junior high school and high school, I still can’t speak English.]

さむいのにオーバーをないでかけた。[Even though it was cold, I went out without putting on an overcoat.]

あのひとはピアノが上手じょうずなのにめったにきません。[Even though that person is good at playing the piano, he seldom plays.]

ちち九十きゅうじゅうさいなのにまだはたらいています。[Even though my father is 90, he’s still working.]

WILD Examples:

At 1:24, listen for this line: そらはこんなにあおのに、かぜはこんなにあたたかいのに太陽たいようはとてもあかるいのに, どうしてこんなにねむいの [Even though the sky is this blue, even though the wind is this warm, and even though the sun is so bright, why am I this sleepy?]
At 0:19, listen for this line: さっきわかれたばかりなのに [Even though we just parted a short time ago]
This song begins with the following line: やっとましたかい?それなのになぜ目も合わせやしないんだい? [Did you finally open your eyes? How come our eyes nevertheless haven’t met?]

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