The writer is complaining that men are useless at cooking. They burn pans, they make more mess than is necessary and:


I can't fully understand this construction. I know the essence is that men use too many plates but that's all I can understand.

In particular I don't know what も is doing. I'm not sure if this is a question, a rhetorical question or a statement. Nor am I sure of the intonation (i.e. rising at the end or not).

In English we might say "and how many plates do they use". Depending on the intonation this could be a plain question or a rhetorical question where we simply mean that they use too many plates. I'm guessing the Japanese is this latter usage but I have no idea.


1 Answer 1


This 「も」 expresses the speaker's surprise or exclamation about the (large) quantity or (high) frequency that is being discussed. It is used when the quantity or frequency exceeds one's expectations.

「[何]{なん} + Counter + も」 = "so many (noun)"

「Actual Number + Counter + も」 = "(number) + (noun) + to one's surprise"

「[何枚]{なんまい}も[皿]{さら}をつかう」, therefore, means:

"(men) use so many plates (than you would expect) while cooking"

This is an exclamatory statement, and not a question or rhetorical question.

As for the pronunciation, you do not use a rising intonation. If anything, we would usually enunciate the 「なん」 part and the actual number part respectively.

For reference, see definition #5 in デジタル大辞泉:

  • I agree overall with your answer, except for the emphasis on "exceed's one expectations" which seems overly constraining for the definition. e.g. 当然ですが、上手になるためなん回も練習しなきゃ Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 19:56

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