も Particles, も Problems, Part I
も is no exception.
For example, も can be used to say something like "also" or "too:"
デスノート みた こと ある？
Have you ever seen Death Note?
Literally: "Death Note + saw + thing + there is?"
うん、 まんが も よんだ。
Yeah, I read the manga, too.
Literally: "yeah, + manga + も + read."
Let's pretend that I didn't slip in a grammar point we haven't covered yet — putting こと(が)ある after a past tense plain-form verb to say "have VERB-ed" — and instead zoom in on that も.
When we're saying that something was "also" done, we can use the particle も. In cases in which we might use the particle を (i.e. with a transitive verb), it gets replaced by も:
まんが を よみました。
I read the manga.
Literally: "manga + を + read."
まんが も よみました。
I also read the manga. // I read the manga, too.
Literally: "manga + も + read."
Sometimes, instead of "also," the nuance we'll get from も is close to the word "even" in English:
にほん の たべもの は すき です か？
Do you like Japanese food? // Do you like the food in Japan?
Literally: "Japan + の + food + は + liked + です + か?"
だいすき です。 なっとう も すき です よ。
I love it. I even like natto. // I love it. I like natto, too.
Literally: "loved / greatly liked + です. + natto + も + liked + です + よ."
What I really want to talk about in this lesson, however, is how も changes the meaning of question words.
Check this out:
何 → 何も
なに → なにも
what → nothing
誰 → 誰も
だれ → だれも
who → nobody; no one
どこ → どこも
where → nowhere
A few examples:
I don't want to do anything.
Literally: "nothing + don't want to do."
Note #1: In casual language, people often say なんも instead of なにも.
Note #2: ～ たくない is the negative ending of ～ たい (want to ~).
Literally: "no one / nobody + didn't come."
どこも あいてない ね。
Everywhere's closed, huh? // Nowhere's open, huh?
Literally: "nowhere + isn't being open + ね."
Note: As we see here, when it is in the present progressive (～ている) tense, the verb 開く (あく // to open [e.g. of an automatic door]) can mean "to be open (e.g. of a store, window, etc.)."
An important thing to note about all of our example sentences above: The verbs are negative.
It sounds strange to put a positive verb with "question-word + も."
Saying 誰も来た (だれも きた) does not mean "Everyone came." In fact, it's not even a sentence. You can't say it.
Instead, you would need to say みんな来た (みんな きた), "Everyone came."
While we're on the topic of question words working with も, we should mention that いつ (when) is an exception. いつも does not mean "never;" it means "always:"
いつ → いつも
when → always
あの ひと は いつも ちこく する。
He's always late. // She's always late.
Literally: "that + person + は + always + being late + does."
So how do we say "never," then?
Uh... it's a bit complicated, and we don't really have space to discuss it here, but I'll mention a few useful words you'll see in sentences expressing the idea of "never:"
全然 (ぜんぜん), which we sometimes translate as "(not) at all."
決して (けっして), which is sometimes translated as "never," "by no means," or "not in the least."
一回も (いっかいも), literally meaning "one time + も," which means something like "not even once."
～たこと(が)ない, which is the verb ending when saying "have not VERB-ed."
Anyway, a lesson for another day. We'll cover this stuff eventually...
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