The explanation I have found says that it is a particle on the end of the sentence. However, in the book I am reading (An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese) it is stated that も is an emphatic particle, the same with さえ.

An emphatic particle which expresses the idea of "even" in non-conditional clauses (or sentences) or the idea of "only" in conditional clauses.


  1. も as an emphatic marker is an extended use of も1. The following examples show the transition of meaning from the original idea "also" to the emphatic use "even"

    a. グレーさんは非常に難しい漢字も読める。
    Literally: Mr. Gray can read very difficult kanji, too. (Mr. Gray can read even very difficult kanji.)

Also, I have seen comments saying that something is more emphatic than something else, or emphatic statement.

It has been bothering me for a while already and I would like to see an explanation if possible.

1 Answer 1


I think your confusion comes from the fact that there is more than one way to use particles for an emphatic effect.

Sentence final particles

Sentence final particles よ, ぞ, ぜ, わ and others are sometimes called emphatic particles. They are added to the end of a sentence for an emphatic effect — for example, conveying that you feel strongly about something.

Sentence final particles usually emphasize the statement of the whole sentence.

There are many such particles, although よ is particularly common and versatile. Choosing between such particles will depend on nuance, register, gender, etc. and there are many questions about these:

Also see the tag or the individual tags , , etc.

Particle も

The particle も can be used to emphasize a particular word within a sentence.

For the emphatic use of も the プログレッシブ和英中辞典 lists following example sentences

3 〔さえ〕

  • 猿も木から落ちる
    Even monkeys fall from trees occasionally./Even an expert makes mistakes./(Even) Homer sometimes nods.

  • 彼はありがとうも言わずにそれを取った
    He took it without so much as saying thank you.

5 〔強調〕

  • この品物は1万円もした
    This (article) cost no less than [all of] 10,000 yen.

  • 彼はそれを完成するのに10年もかかった
    It took him ten long years to complete it.

  • 10人もの人が皆同じ間違いをした
    All ten people made the same mistake.

  • この村の者は一人も知らない
    I don't know a single one of the villagers.

  • 冗談もいいところだ
    You are carrying your joke too far.

  • こうも暑いとぐったりしてしまう
    When it's as hot as this, I feel listless.

  • そんなことをするとは非常識もはなはだしい
    It was simply too thoughtless of him to do such a thing.
  • 今まで黙っているなんて君も君だよ
    Why didn't you let me know earlier? I'm surprised at you./How could you not have told me?
  • 歌いも歌ったり,その数は50曲に及んだ
    We sang and sang until we had finished fifty songs.

  • 3時間も待った
    I waited for a good three hours.

Particle さえ

Similarly, the particle さえ can be used for an emphatic effect. Again, the プログレッシブ和英中辞典 lists the following example sentences

1 〔さらに〕

  • 雨さえ降ってきた
    On top of that [everything], it began to rain.

2 〔…ですら〕even

  • 彼さえ知らないのだからだれも知らないだろう
    If even he doesn't know, then nobody does.
  • ABCさえ書けない
    He can't even write the alphabet./He cannot so much as write the alphabet.
  • 1滴の水さえない
    There is not a drop of water (to be had [found]).
  • 彼は兄弟にさえ裏切られた
    He was betrayed even by his own brothers.

3 〔そのことだけで十分〕

  • もっと勉強しさえすれば試験に合格できたのに
    If only you had studied harder, you could have passed the examination. これさえあれば十分だ This is all I need.

Also see

Contrastive particle は

The particle は can also be used for contrast/emphasis. See for example

Combining "emphatic particles"

Of course there is no reason you cannot combine sentence final particles and emphatic も or さえ — just pick any of the above example sentences and add an "emphatic" sentence final particle.

Other expressions used for emphasis

On top of that, there are other words or expressions used for emphasis. For example

  • 1
    Thank you very much, I assume that こそ is also an emphatic particle, right? May 20, 2018 at 15:49
  • In the 10 people example sentence, is the emphasis on "all" or on "ten people"? (As in "Of the ten people [who tried this], all made the same mistake!")
    – muru
    May 20, 2018 at 17:45
  • @muru The italics is only indicating what part of the English sentence roughly corresponds to the も in the Japanese sentence. I think it could also have said "As much as ten people made the same mistake".
    – Earthliŋ
    May 20, 2018 at 18:23

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