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I never really thought about it before; but, I'm having a hard time explaining the difference concisely, and when to use which.

What are the differences in nuances between あくまで and あくまでも? When is the use of あくまで preferable to あくまでも, and vice versa?

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"The final mo sometimes drops, but the meaning or nuance does not change." - A dictionary of advanced Japanese grammar. The difference seems to be one of style or emphatic nature. But perhaps some native speaker could elaborate. – blutorange Aug 19 '13 at 6:28
I can accept this if it is so, yet I'm suspicious, because in other constructs, the -mo changes meaning. "Itsu made" means "until when", but "itsumademo" means "forever". The "-demo/-temo" ending indicates "even if/no matter what/who/to what extent/...": compare dare (who), daremo (nobody), daredemo (anybody/everybody/no matter who). And on verbs: "Kare wa okane attemo, oshare o shinai yo". (Even if he had money, he still wouldn't be a sharp dresser.) – Kaz Aug 21 '13 at 20:32
One says you're a demon, one says even if you're a demon B-) – ssb Aug 21 '13 at 23:29
@ssb nice puns :) "ba-dum ching" ;) – execjosh Feb 20 '14 at 23:51
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The just adds emphasis. As you probably know, the あく in あくまで is the word 飽く. This is an "old"/literary version of the word 飽きる meaning "get tired of", "be fed up with", "have enough of", almost always with a negative connotation. So 飽くまで would be "until one gets tired of" or "until you've had enough of" -- or "to the end/last", "persistently", "stubbornly" as most dictionaries have it defined. So adding would just make it "even to the end" -- emphasis.

  • あくまで抵抗する → Resist (it) to the end
  • あくまでも抵抗する → Resist (it) to the very end
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Thank you for the explanation. 納得しました。 – execjosh Feb 20 '14 at 23:48

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