How to say “But” in Japanese – でも – JLPT N5 Grammar

In Japanese, there are several words that can be used to say “But” or “however” – such as kedo, shikashi, and demo.

Today we will look at the word でも (demo) and how it can be used in a Japanese conversation. It’s one of the most essential JLPT N5 grammar points.

In Japanese, the word for “But” is でも。

It usually appears at the beginning of a sentence after an initial concept.

For example:

nihonjin to motto hanashitai desu. demo, watashi no nihongo wa amari jouzu dewa arimasen.
I want to speak to Japanese people more. But my Japanese is not so good.


Suu-paa – ni ikimashita. demo, shmatteita.
I went to the supermarket, but it was closed

Demo is often used to start a new sentence or to connect two ideas together.

Grammar Point: でも

でも is a conjunctive particle that is used to connect two clauses. It is similar to the English word “but” in that it is used to contrast two ideas. However, there are a few key differences between the two words.

First, でも can be used at the beginning of a sentence, but “but” cannot. For example:

  • でも、私は日本語が下手です。 (Demo, watashi wa nihongo ga heta desu.) – But I am not good at Japanese.

Second, でも is more informal than “but.” It is commonly used in everyday conversation, but it is not as appropriate for formal writing.

How to Use でも

でも can be used in a variety of ways to express different shades of meaning. Here are a few examples:

  • To contrast two ideas:
  • 私は日本語が話せます。でも、日本語が書けません。 (Watashi wa nihongo ga hanasemasu. Demo, nihongo ga kaけません.) – I can speak Japanese, but I cannot write Japanese.
  • To express a concession:
  • 今日は忙しいです。でも、あなたのために時間を作ります。 (Kyou wa isogashii desu. Demo, anata no tame ni jikan wo tsukurimasu.) – I am busy today, but I will make time for you.
  • To express a reservation:
  • 私は日本語が上手だと思います。でも、まだまだ勉強が必要です。 (Watashi wa nihongo ga umai to omoimasu. Demo, madamada benkyou ga hitsuyō desu.) – I think I am good at Japanese, but I still need to study.

Examples of でも in Japanese Sentences

Here are a few examples of how でも is used in Japanese sentences:

  • 私は日本語が好きです。でも、漢字が難しいです。 (Watashi wa nihongo ga suki desu. Demo, kanji ga muzukashii desu.) – I like Japanese, but kanji is difficult.
  • 今日は晴れです。でも、風がとても強いです。 (Kyou wa hare desu. Demo, kaze ga totemo tsuyoi desu.) – It is sunny today, but the wind is very strong.
  • 私は日本に行きたいです。でも、お金がありません。 (Watashi wa nihon ni ikitai desu. Demo, okane ga arimasen.) – I want to go to Japan, but I don’t have money.


でも is a very common Japanese word that can be used to express a variety of different meanings. By following the tips in this article, you can learn how to use でも correctly and confidently in your Japanese conversations and writing.

Try it yourself! We’ve compiled 30 other N5 grammar points, so check them out here to prepare the upcoming test!

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