も is one of the first particles that is typically taught, and with good reason. Not only does it have a variety of common uses, but they tend to be pretty easy to understand and use, unlike は／が which take considerably more time to master. Just make sure you don’t confuse も with もう (already), which have completely different meanings.
Here is a quick summary of some common usages:
- して ＋ も ＋ negative result => “Even if…” Ex: ”勉強しても無駄” （Even if you study, it’s useless / It’s useless to study)
- 何 ＋ counter + も => many of something Ex: “何回も” (many times)
- して ＋ も ＋ いい ? => ask permission to do something Ex: 帰ってもいいですか？ (Can I go home?)
- Noun + も => “also/too” Ex: 僕も行きたい (I want to go too)
In this article I’d like to focus on the last of these, which I feel is the simplest to understand and use.
The simplest case is when も is used in front of a subject (noun), taking the place of が or は if you would normally use it.
Ex: 僕も好きだ (I also like (it) / I like it too)
It can also be similarly used in front of object of a verb, replacing を. (In rare cases, I have seen ”をも” used as well)
Ex: 本も買ったよ (I also bought a book).
If you want to use も with the particles に or で, you can typically just add it after them.
Ex: KFCは日本にもある (KFC is also in Japan)
Ex: バスでも行けるよ (You can also go by bus)
Don’t forget that you can use も multiple times in a sentence with two or more subjects or objects.
Ex: リンゴもバナナも好きです. (I like both apples and bananas)
But the uses of も to mean “also” don’t stop there. For example, you can use it with ながら(while) in the following expression:
Ex: いやと言いながらも。。。 (While saying I don’t like it…. / Even though I’ll say I don’t like it…. )
You can even put it in the middle of a している to mean “also doing”. In my experience this is not used that often in conversation, but if you do a Google search you’ll find it’s very common in written language.
Ex: 毎日手伝ってもいる (I’m also helping every day)
The final two I’ll discuss are a little tricky, but once you learn them I’m sure you’ll make good use of them.
First, a question. How do you say “The car is also red”? (you use the words 車 and 高い）
The answer may be a bit surprising: 車は赤くもある。
For the negative, “赤くもない” can be used to mean “It’s not even red” or “It’s not red either”.
Finally, you can use the ”でもある” with “から” to express another reason for something.
Ex: 事故は疲れたからでもある。 (The accident was also because I was tired).
Though I like this usage, honestly I haven’t seen it used that frequently. What I have seen more often is the following, which has a similar connotation.
Ex: 事故は疲れたというのもあった ( [literally] As for the accident, there was also the fact that I was tired).
There is a related meaning where you use も with a negative sentence to mean “not even” or “not either”.
Ex: 一秒も寝てない (I haven’t slept even a second)
Ex: 日本語もロクに話せない (I can’t speak Japanese well either [in addition to another language I can’t speak well])
For a final tricky question, how would you say “He’s not even a college student” or “He’s not a college student either”? (you can use the word 大学生）
At first you might wonder what is going on here. But if you think in terms of adding “も” to ”じゃない”, it starts to make more sense. ”じゃない” is actually an abbreviation for “ではない”, and replacing the は with も gives “でもない”。