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I have read in Tae Kim's book that "You can attach the inclusive particle 「も」 to get 「ながらも」. This changes the meaning from "while" to "Even while"."

I personally do not like this translation and that's because the given examples I will provide do not fit this translation.

On the JLPT Sensei website it translates 「ながらも」 as "despite" or "although". He goes on to state that "The 「も」 at the end is optional and is often just used as 「ながら」". However, no matter how small a difference is there is always a reason for it, at least in my opinion.

My examples are taking from both sources.

Ex.

  • 狭いながらも、このマンションは大好きだ。
    Despite it being small, I love this apartment.
  • アナちゃんは子どもながらも、いろんなことを知っている。
    Although Anna-chan is just a child, she knows quite a lot of various things.
  • 貧乏ながらも、高級なバックを買っちゃったよ。
    Even while I'm poor, I ended up buying a high quality bag. (I would just rather prefer "despite" or "although" being used here.)

To summarize, I would like to know the subtle differences between using ながら and ながらも. I don't really agree with the Tae Kim explanation and it is non-existent on the JLPT Sensei website so I thought I would pop my StackExchange cherry and ask it here.

P.s. I know there is another ながら grammar structure that is similar to this but I know that they are different in meaning.

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    I wonder if the confusion is due to the dual meaning of 'while' in English (and seemingly in Japanese too) which can also have the meaning of "despite being ..." e.g. "while small he still packed a powerful punch". – user3856370 Jun 16 at 19:30
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"ながら" indicates 2 different things stand together so it's often used to show a contrast. "も"(conjunctive particle) has meaning of explicit contrast conjunction like but/though/however/despite.

わたしは食べて太らない
I don't put on weight even though I eat much.

"も" in "ながらも" works in the same way. So, in my sense, the difference between "ながら" and "ながらも" is quite slight and interchangeable each other basically but "ながらも" definitely emphasizes the contrast.

In a few cases like below examples we rarely put "も" maybe because the contrast is not important.

僭越ながら申し上げます。
let me say one thing (although I'm afraid to say this)

微力ながらお力添えできますと幸いです。
I'm glad to help you (although my ability is limited)

僭越ながら, 微力ながら, 及ばずながら, 陰ながら, etc are phrases to express modesty especially in formal scene. We could also put も at the end of them like 僭越ながら, 微力ながら but it's not common maybe because it sounds too modest. It's just like emphasizing the 'although' clause in the above examples.

  • さることながら (as well as)
  • 残念ながら (unfortunately)
  • 我ながら (blowing my own horn)

These phrases also rarely become ながらも. I haven't heard at least. That's probably because the contrast meaning is very weak.

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