The meaning of demo (でも) in Japanese and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word demo, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, and more!

What does demo mean?

The Japanese word demo (でも) means but or however. Demo is used at the beginning of sentences. You will tend to use it mostly in daily conversation. In writing, terms like shikashi (しかし) and keredomo (けれども) are more appropriate.

As in English, you can use demo to contrast with what has come before or to counter what someone said. In certain cases, it also draws the listener’s attention to what you are about to say. This is a common usage in TV shows and anime for dramatic effect.

Can also be used for suggestions

In certain situations, demo can also stand for how about when suggesting or offering something.

Below, we take a look at some examples of how to use demo in Japanese.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji on the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Demo = But

Demo means but or however in Japanese. It can also stand for how about.

Mainichi, kaji wo yatteiru. Demo souji ga kirai.
I do chores everyday. But I hate cleaning.

Watashi wa shanpan ga suki. Demo takai kara amari nomanai.
I like champagne. But I don’t drink it much because it’s expensive.

Kare wa atama ga ii desu. Demo sukoshi puraido ga takai kamoshiremasen.
He is smart. But he’s maybe a little bit arrogant.

Saisho wa wakaranakatta. Demo, aru hi kizuitanda.
In the beginning, I didn’t know about it. But then one day I realized. (note: this sentence adds some dramatic effect).

How about some…

As mentioned above, demo can also translate as how about or how about some when you are suggesting something or making an offer.

Ocha demo nomanai?
How about some tea?

Ima kara gohan demo ikimasu ka?
How about we go for dinner now?