I think the ~더라도 and ~도 endings both mean 'if' (roughly speaking). Are there any differences in meaning? If they're not interchangeable, when would I use one or the other?
This answer comes from Korean Grammar in Use: Advanced:
Both expressions can be replaced with each other, however the following difference is noted:
어/아도: Used when hypothetical meaning is relatively weak and the possibility of the statement becoming a reality is high
더라도: Used when the hypothetical meaning is relatively strong and the possibility of the statement becoming a reality is relatively low.
Basically, while both expressions can mean "even if", the chance that the situation preceding 더라도 will happen is relatively lower than that preceding 어/아도.
Here's an example:
- 저 학생이 완전 천재래. 지금 수업에 다 떨어져버리더라도 아직도 하바드를 입학할 수 있는 정도.. They say that guy's a genius. That, even if he fails all his classes, he'll still be able to go to Harvard.
The chance of a genius failing is low, but even if he does, he's too smart to not be accepted.
Hope this helps!
These aren't exactly the same.
더라도 is a combined form of the retrospective verb ending 더라 with 도. Retrospectives usually refer to something the speaker observed or otherwise perceived in the past.
When using this clausal conjunctive, the speaker is acknowledging the (observed or understood) first clause but emphatically states that something different (usually contradictory) must be true. Usually translated as “even though” or “no matter (how)” or even “I don’t care if/how/…”