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Recently I came across some lines and could not really understand what the "も" is doing in them.

Example:

私にクラスに鈴木さんという名の生徒が5人[も]{L}いるので驚いた。

vs

私にクラスに鈴木さんという名の生徒が5人[が]{L}いるので驚いた。

Thinking about "も" here as "even" or "also" in these examples don't really make sense to me here and I read in another post that it has a total affirmation usage but I can't quite grasp it.

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Your second sentence:

クラスに鈴木さんという名の生徒5人いるので驚いた。

is not correct. You don't use two が's that way. You'd instead say:

私のクラスに鈴木さんという名の生徒5人いるので驚いた。

"Numeral + counter", such as 5人, 2個, 3回 etc., can function adverbially. You'd use it like this:

生徒がいる。 There're students. → 生徒が5人いる。 There're five students.
りんごを食べる。 I eat apples. → りんごを3個食べる。 I eat three apples.
山田さんに会った。 I met Yamada-san. → 山田さんに3回会った。 I met Yamada-san three times.


も, used after a numeral and counter, means "as many as" "as much as". You'd use it this way:

生徒が5人いる。 There're as many as five students.
りんごを3個食べる。 I eat as many as three apples.
山田さんに3回会った。 I met Yamada-san as many as three times.

So your first sentence:

私のクラスに鈴木さんという名の生徒が5人いるので驚いた。

means "I was surprised because there were as many as five students named Suzuki in my class."

| improve this answer | |
  • Ah, thank you for all the explanations! As many as/ as much as is such a simple way to think of that yet when I looked up that usage most translations just omitted it. – Moo1 Aug 19 at 18:32

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