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If you look at my translation of the sentence below from a text book (総まとめ N3 読解), I think you will agree that I have guessed the meaning correctly but can anyone explain the grammar to the first phrase in bold? The particle も seems to have a wider usage than that given in most books or perhaps there is an omitted phrase?

かわいい写真たてもうれしかった けれど、それより、 黙ってプレゼントを用意してくれていたことに感激した。」

"I was very happy with the photoframe (?) but more than that, I was touched that she prepared a present secretly, without revealing anything."

Context: This was an entry to a young woman's diary, trying to think of a nice birthday present for her friend.

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Typo? Shouldn't it be かわいい写真たても、うれしかったけど・・・(I mean, I think an う is redundant) –  Choko Jul 29 '12 at 5:30
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@Chocolate It was a typo. I happen to have the same book and verified it. –  Flaw Jul 29 '12 at 6:45

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Let me shamelessly steal the explanation by sawa and an example by Chocolate to make up a slightly different explanation.

も signifies that there are other things than the thing to which も is attached. It is sometimes used with けれど or a similar conjunctive, and in this case the thing to which も is attached is contrasted to something else, which is often more important than the thing introduced with も.

かわいい写真たてうれしかったけれど、それより、 黙ってプレゼントを用意してくれていたことに感激した。 Although the cute photo frame made me happy, (it was not the only thing that made me happy, namely) more importantly, I was moved by the fact that he/she had prepared a present without saying a word.

勉強大事だけど、たまには息抜きしなきゃ。 Although studying is important, (it is not the only important thing, namely) you have to take a break once in a while.

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Note: Thank you all. The answers below are useful reference, in particular that the "something else" referred to by も comes later in the text. –  Tim Aug 9 '12 at 8:19

My first thought was that the frame was so cute, I was happy... も as an intensifier usually/often appears concatenated with other particles but can show up by itself. Even with the new info on the context, I'm not sure also is the way to go. Could this be truly ambiguous? If we had audio it might be clear: the frame was sooo cute vs the frame was also cute...

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Are you talking about も as in こんなにも大変だ and 1時間も待った (sense [1]-5 in Daijisen, sense 1-[6] in Daijirin)? If so, that is a different usage from the も in the question. This is obvious to my native ear but it is hard for me to explain why; it might be because in that usage, the sentence has to be complete even after removing も. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Jul 30 '12 at 2:28
    
@TsuyoshiIto Yes, I was. Thanks for the tip about removing も. BTW I consider "it just sounds wrong" to be a very valuable answer from a native speaker. –  medmal Jul 31 '12 at 5:36

も means "also", which means there is something else on top of which something is added. You might be tempted to assume that this "something else" should have been introduced into the context in advance, but in this case, it is not. It is introduced in the part that follows this expression.

I was also happy for the pretty picture stand, but rather than that, I was surprised by the fact that she had prepared a secret present.

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I don't understand why this answer was downvoted....'cos I think the sentence structure in question is the same as 「りんご"も"美味しいけど、バナナはもっと美味しいよ」「キリンさん"も"好きだけど、ゾウさんはもっと好きです」「勉強"も"大事だけど、たまには息抜きしなきゃ」, am I not right? –  Choko Jul 29 '12 at 10:19
    
Can the scope(I'm not sure if scope is the correct word) of も be extended beyond a "。"(終止符)? Is it correct for me to have said that かわいい写真立て is added on top of カード (which is in a previous separate sentence) ? Or does it have to be contained within the sentence like in your answer? –  Flaw Jul 29 '12 at 10:53
    
@Flaw It does not matter whether it is contained in the sentence. It is not a syntactic phenomenon. It is wrong of you to refer to カード. That is irrelevant. –  user458 Jul 29 '12 at 12:22

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