Wild Nihongo!
も Particle (Even / As Many As)

も Particle (Even / As Many As)

もParticle (Even / As many as) Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Particle

Essential Meaning: Even / As many as / As much as / As long as

Construction: 

  • Noun + も
    • E.g. 漢字かんじ [Even kanji]
  • Quantifier + も
    • E.g. 百人ひゃくにん [As many as 100 people]
  • Singular Counter + も
    • E.g. 一人ひとり [Not even one person]
  • WH-Question Word + も
    • E.g. だれも [Nobody]
    • E.g. なにも [Nothing]
  • Verb ます-Form + もしない
    • E.g. べもしない [X Doesn’t even eat X]

Notes:

  • も (Even / As many as) is an emphatic extension of も (Too / As Well). The precise meaning of も (Even / As many as) depends on the preceding parts of speech.
    • With plural quantifiers (e.g. 五十ごじゅう [Fifty], 百人ひゃくにん [100 people], 3ぼん [3 long items], etc.), Xも means “As many as X” (e.g. “I have as many as 1000 friends“). The implication is that the quantity is high, significant, praiseworthy, et cetera.
      • E.g. わたし漢字かんじ八千はっせんっている。[I know as many as 8000 kanji.]
    • With singular quantifiers (e.g. 一人ひとり [One person], 一つひとつ [One thing]), Xも means “Even one X“. It is typically used with a negative verb to mean “Not even one X” (e.g. “I don’t even have a single friend“).
      • E.g. そのパーティーにはおんな一人ひとりなかった。[Not a single girl came to that party.]
    • With a Noun phrase, Xも simply means “Even X“. The implication is that the agent in the sentence can do other things, and they can do X as well. The fact that they can do X is noteworthy or surprising.
      • E.g. グレッグさんはこんなむずかしい漢字かんじめる。[Greg can read even a difficult kanji such as this one.]
    • With a Verb ます-Form, Xも is always followed by a negative form of する. The meaning is that the agent “Doesn’t even do X” (e.g. “I don’t even drink tea“).
      • E.g. ナンシーはわたしはなしきもしない。[Nancy doesn’t even listen to what I say.]
    • Lastly, there are various idiomatic forms of WH-Question Words + も to remember.
      • E.g. いつも [Always]
      • E.g. どこも [Anywhere]
      • E.g. どちらも [Both / Neither]
      • E.g. どうも [Somehow]
      • E.g. なにも (only w/ negative verb) [Nothing]
      • E.g. だれも (only w/ negative verb) [Nobody]

Example Sentences:

ハリスさんはこんなやさしい漢字かんじめない。[Mr. Harris can’t even read easy Kanji.]

わたし漢字かんじ八千はっせんっている。[I know as many as 8000 kanji.]

わたし漢字かんじ一つひとつらない。[I don’t even know a single kanji.]

わたしなにべなかった。[I didn’t eat anything.]

ナンシーはわたしはなしきもしない。[Nancy doesn’t even listen to me.]

春男はるお一年生いちねんせいのたしざんもまともにできない。[Haruo can’t even do first grade addition correctly.]

今日きょうくるま十台じゅうだいれた。[Today I sold as many as 10 cars.]

だれもそのことをしりません。[Nobody knows about that.]

わたし木村きむらさんがくれたほんをまだもしていない。[I haven’t even looked at the book that Mr. Kimura lent me yet.]

WILD Examples:

も (Even / As many as) is used repeatedly throughout this song. The first line is: テレビねぇ、ラジオねえ、くるまそれほど走ってねぇ [There aren’t even TV, there aren’t even radios, cars don’t even drive through very often] The joke is that the singer’s town is totally bereft of entertainment and liveliness, so he wants to move to Tokyo. By the way, ねぇ is just a casual way of saying ない.
Listen to this line at 0:51: ねぇ、これしい?、20あるの [Hey, do you want this? There’s as many as 20 things in here.]

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