Can a topic that is identified via the も particle be included in a は topic that comes AFTER it? e.g. Two sequential sentences from a book I'm reading:

1st Sentence: ほかの鳥は、もう、よだかの顔を見ただけでも、いやになってしまうという工合でした。

2nd Sentence: たとえば、ひばりも、あまり美しい鳥ではありませんが、よだかよりは、ずっと上だと思っていましたので、夕方など、よだかにあうと、さもさもいやそうに、しんねりと目をつぶりながら、首をそっぽへ向けるのでした。

... but is ひばり (the skylark) being included in the previous topic (ほかの鳥は) or the upcoming one (あまり美しい鳥では)?

Can も mark a topic for inclusion in an (as yet) unintroduced は topic?

  • 2
    When you say あまり鳥は... , the あまり means "(not) so/really/very~~", not "remaining".
    – Chocolate
    Feb 18 '18 at 0:44
  • More completely, it's actually "たとえば, ひばりも, あまり美しい鳥はありませんが, ...". I stripped it down because I thought it wouldn't matter in the context of my question. I took it to mean "the remaining pretty birds" rather than "the not very pretty birds" since, even though the next verb is negative, the complete sentence is positive (it ends with a positive verb). I translated it in jisho, which said "not very" is for negative sentences only. jisho.org/search/%E3%81%82%E3%81%BE%E3%82%8A Was I incorrect?
    – Hyperglyph
    Feb 18 '18 at 1:19
  • 1
    たとえば, ひばりも, あまり美しい鳥はありませんが <- 写し間違ってませんか? I think it should be たとえば、ひばりも、あまり美しい鳥はありませんが、 I think you need a で here. I would mean "For example, skylarks are not very pretty birds either, but... "
    – Chocolate
    Feb 18 '18 at 1:30
  • 1
    宮沢賢治の『よだかの星』ですね。After seeing the full sentences, I figured out the も in ひばりも is not "either", but "also/too": "For example, a skylark as well (as other birds) turned away from the nighthawk"
    – Chocolate
    Feb 18 '18 at 2:04
  • 2
    Here, ひばりも is connected to 首をそっぽへ向けるのでした at the end, so in this specific context, も is including ひばり in ほかの鳥. But when you say for example 「ひばりもあまり美しい鳥ではありません。」"Skylarks are not so/very pretty, either.", ひばり is the subject and the も means "either." (As you know, 「XXもYYではない」→ "XX is not YY, either." Btw, here the は is a contrastive marker rather than a topic marker.)
    – Chocolate
    Feb 18 '18 at 4:22
  • 1st sentence: ほかの鳥 thought "よだか are ugly birds!"
  • 2nd sentence: ひばり are not very beautiful, either, but even ひばり thought "We look much better than よだか!"

Here ほかの鳥 refers to all birds which are not よだか. ほかの鳥 includes ひばり, which are relatively ugly among ほかの鳥 but are much better than よだか.

The topic of the second sentence is ひばり, which is marked with も instead of は because there are other ugly birds mentioned in the story. あまり美しい鳥 is not the topic but one of the three predicates of the second sentence: Why is the topic marker often used in negative statements (ではない, ~とは思わない)?

Read the second sentence like this:

  • ひばりも、 あまり美しい鳥ではありません。
  • が、ひばりも、「よだかよりは、ずっと上だ」と思っていました。
  • なので、ひばりも、 夕方など、よだかにあうと、さもさもいやそうに、しんねりと目をつぶりながら、首をそっぽへ向けるのでした。

To me, the も in your example sentence would seem superfluous, as the skylark is already included in the category of 'other birds'. It would sound like: 'Other birds, for example, including also the skylark'. This makes for an unnatural sentence. Furthermore, when you are using skylark as the singular example, there would be no need to add も (for my one example, also the skylark…).

If you are trying to say ‘even the skylark’ I would use でも. It would help if you provided a complete (non-fragmented) example of the English sentence that you wish to convey and the nuance (is it supposed to be stilted dialogue?).

ほかの鳥は... たとえば, ひばりも, あまり鳥は... 

Alternate suggestions:



  • They aren't my sentences. They're from a book I'm reading. The sentences are sequential (the "..." is just me leaving out the rest of the sentence), and I'm trying to figure out if that も means "Skylark" should be included in the 1st sentence's topic, or the 2nd.
    – Hyperglyph
    Feb 18 '18 at 1:01
  • I edited my post for clarity and context.
    – Hyperglyph
    Feb 18 '18 at 1:48
  • The sentences read much more naturally now that they are complete.
    – BJCUAI
    Feb 18 '18 at 2:01

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