JLPT N4 Grammar: 〜も (How to express "That many?" in Japanese)


First, watch Yuka-sensei’s video above!
If you have been studying Japanese for a while now – there’s a good chance you have come across the Japanese grammar point も (mo).
As we stated in this article on basic Japanese grammar, the particle も is often used to signify similarity and agreement in Japanese.  However, it can also be used to add emphasis to quantity or quantities.
In this blog article, we will examine the emphasis use of も, such as how to say “that many?!”
This expression may appear on the JLPT N4 as well – so make note of its use!

JLPT N4 Grammar: Using も to Express “That many?”

Since this expression emphasizes quantity, も is used with counters.  In Japanese, there are several different counters depending on the shape or matter of the object being counting.
For example, 枚 (まい/mai) is the counter for flat things, such as plates or pieces of paper, and 台 (だい/dai) is used to count machines and motor vehicles.
The structure is:
number + counter + も

Example: Food

A: ケーキを30個食べました。
keeki o sanjyuu ko mo tabemashita
I ate 30 cakes.
B: え、30個も食べたんですか?
E, sanjyuu ko mo tabetan desu ka?
Eh, you ate that many?
In Yuka-sensei’s example above, the literal translation is something like “you ate as many as 30 cakes?”  However for conversation, a more accurate translation of this phrase into natural English would be merely:
Eh, you ate that many?
Saying も after repeating the quantity adds emphasis in Japanese, indicating surprise and/or that something is impressive.

Example: Cars

A: 私の友達は、車を5台持っています!
Watashi no tomodachi wa, kuruma o go dai motteimasu
I have a friend who owns 5 cars!
B: え、5台も持っているんですか?
Eh, go dai mo motteirun desu ka?
What, they own 5 cars?
These expressions often end with んですか?
As Yuka-sensei points out in the video above, this is a way to add more emotion to what you are saying.  It conveys interest or even curiosity in what the other party is telling them.
Now you can practice using this yourself either in studying for the JLPT, or in your daily conversations!

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