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I've read Need help with translating 今更聞くのもアレなんだけど and Meaning of a sentence with Aが言うのもなんだけど and other considerations, and understand that in a construction like 聞くのもアレなんだけど, アレ and なん are functioning as filler words in place of words that the speaker is too abashed to use. However, what I don't understand is the usage of も in these phrases. How would 今更聞くのアレなんだけど differ from 今更聞くのアレなんだけど? The latter I would translate directly as "Asking now is a little weird, but..." while I would translate the former as "Asking now is also a little weird, but...." However, the answer given in Need help with translating 今更聞くのもアレなんだけど seems to translate 今更聞くのアレなんだけど as "Asking now is a little weird, but..." (no "also"). Why is that the case? What does も do in these constructions?

  • 1
    The も is this... japanese.stackexchange.com/a/55281/9831 (12) さりげなくとりたてて、文意をやわらげる。一歩引く気持ちで、その判断をやわらげる。 – Chocolate Jan 16 '18 at 11:10
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    Maybe "も makes a sentence reserved" is one way of putting this. For example そうではない is direct "That's not true" but そうでもない is much milder, "Well that's not quite true". – naruto Jan 17 '18 at 3:40
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The も is neither "also" nor "even".

The も is used in the sense of definition #12 in 明鏡国語辞典:

も 🈩〘副助詞〙
⓬ さりげなくとりたてて、文意をやわらげる。
㋐《多く、文末表現に使って》一歩引く気持ちで、その判断をやわらげる。
「自由に発言すること可能だ」「もう帰っていいんだぜ」「彼だって素直になることある」「その件なら知らなくない」「そんな感じがしないでない」「乞われれば応じしよう」「やむをえないと考えするが…」

These threads might be of help: What is the difference between 「とは限らない」and 「とも限らない」 / Usage of も in a Specific Context

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I believe that it functions as 'even' does in English, in the sense of something surprising or extreme.

For example:

自分が言うのあれなんだけど - 'Even if I do say so myself.'

私が説明をしようとして... - Even if I tried explaining...

十時間寝ました - I slept a whole 10 hours.

I believe that the English essence of 今更聞くのもアレなんだけど would be:

Even asking at this late date is a little...you know.

Maybe not the best explanation, but until a better one comes along I hope it is useful.

  • "even" for も is a good explanation. (+1 upvote) – mackygoo Jan 16 '18 at 10:19
  • I still don't see how "even" fits. In terms of meaning or nuance, what's the difference between「今さら聞くのなんだけど、まだ、聞かなければいけないと思う。」and「今さら聞くのなんだけど、まだ、聞かなければいけないと思う。」, and why is the latter preferred? – lightweaver Jan 16 '18 at 10:32
  • using 聞くのもアレ shows hesitance/reluctance/impropriety, whereas 聞かなければならない just means must/have to. Adding 思う just makes it 'I think I must ask'. With のもアレ, the feeling that you're trying to convey is one of humility and reticence. Using 聞くのはアレ would just be 'Asking at this late date is a little...', while substituting も for は strengthens the expression of reluctance. Regarding your question about 'why the latter is preferred', which do you mean by latter? – BJCUAI Jan 16 '18 at 10:58
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    Agree with Chocolate's answer. – BJCUAI Jan 16 '18 at 18:50
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(A) 今更聞くのアレなんだけど
(B) 今更聞くのアレなんだけど
(C-1) 今更聞くのは憚{はばか}られるのだが/憚られるのだけど
(C-2) 今更聞くのは恥{は}ずかしいのだが/恥ずかしいのだけど

(A)の英訳は、質問者の通りで問題ないと思いますが、(B)の解釈はalsoでなく、user27280さんの解釈通りevenの方が良いように思います。

アレの解釈はfillerで良く、その内容は会話している人の間での共通的な認識で良いと思います。

一方、(B)におけるアレの内容は、「(聞くことが=尋ねること=質問することが)憚られること」あるいは「恥ずかしいこと」にかなり限定できると思います。結果として、(B)の意味は、(C-1)あるいは(C-2)に近くなります。

なお、(A)にも、少しは(C-1)あるいは(C-2)のニュアンスはありますが、そこまで限定的には言い切れません。

  • フォローありがとうございました:)(実際にうちの答えより全然分かりやすかったと思う) – BJCUAI Jan 16 '18 at 11:06

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