The Particle “Mo”

The grammar section of The Japanese Tutor takes a closer look at a number of important particles in the Japanese language. Another particle you’ll hear and use a lot in the Japanese language is mo, which can mean “too,” “as well,” “also,” and sometimes even “and.”

You can use mo in place of the particles wa, ga, or wo. That means that you should place mo after the subject or object or the sentence, whichever is the thing that is “also.” For example, if you heard someone say, “My little sister is a high school student,” you might respond, “My younger brother is a high school student, too” or “My younger brother is also a high school student.” In Japanese, the conversation may occur in the following manner:

Imouto wa koukousei desu.

Otouto mo koukousei desu.

This subject-use of mo also applies when discussing someone performing the same action. For example, in English someone might say, “My little sister went to the cinema yesterday.” You might reply, “My younger brother went to the cinema yesterday as well.” The Japanese translation of this dialog is:

Imouto wa kinou eigakan ni ikimashita.

Otouto mo kinou eigakan ni ikimashita.

When using mo with an object, you place the particle after the object in the sentence. For example, if you want to say, “My younger brother likes dogs. He also likes cats,” you can use mo after the object of the second sentence (neko/cats):

Otouto wa inu ga suki desu. Kare wa neko mo suki desu.

Mo can also be translated as “and” when used in a list. With a few exceptions, you should use the particle mo after each item in a list when talking about three items or more. Sometimes you can use it even when you’re only talking about two items, but you’re more likely to hear the particle to (which usually means “and”) when there are only two items. You will not hear to used in long lists.

For example, if you want to say, “My younger brother likes dogs, cats, birds and hamsters,” you should say mo after each object in the list:

Otouto wa inu mo neko mo tori mo hamusutaa mo suki desu.

Practice using mo in a sentence. Review the lesson on the particles wa, ga, and wo and replace those particles with mo.

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Tags: grammar, japan, japanese language, mo, particles