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What is the exact sentiment expressed by も in this sentence as opposed to が?

日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ

It's a sentence in response to someone saying "I saw a spider in my room, I was scared".

2 Answers 2

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も is used instead of が to add the meaning of "even" or "also." See for comparison the following examples:

日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人がいますよ

In Japan, there are people who say that seeing a spider is a good thing.

日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ

In Japan, there are also people who say that seeing a spider is a good thing.

Depending on context, one can also translate も as "even," as Istraci does:

In Japan, there are even people who say that seeing a spider is a good thing.

So も introduces an element of comparison, implying that there are people who think that seeing a spider may be a good thing, as well as those who think that it is a bad thing. In natural colloquial English, perhaps one could drop the "even" or "also," as these seem somewhat stilted in the context of a conversation, and introduce a word like "well" instead:

部屋でクモを見て、怖かった!

日本ではクモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ。

I got scared because I saw a spider in my room!

Well, in Japan there are people who say that seeing a spider is a good thing.

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    I am not sure if it is more correct to translate this sentence in the following way: "There are also/even people who say that seeing a spider in Japan is a good thing. " Any opinions?
    – yadokari
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 16:31
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    @yadokari I don't think any native speaker would understand 日本では to be the place of action of seeing a spider. If there was no は, then yeah, of course. But with the は it can only refer to the place where people who say (such and such) are. But I really like that last translation in your answer! Very natural.
    – By137
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 16:55
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    Yadokari, regardless of what @By137 says, the sentence can have your alternate meaning, at least if you allow for confusing lack of punctuation. There is nothing wrong with 日本ではクモを見ると良いことがある、と言う人もいますよ, bringing 日本では into the quotation. I agree with By137, though, that the most natural parse of the sentence is 日本では、クモを見ると良いことがあると言う人もいますよ
    – dainichi
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 23:46
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    Yes @By137, I mean "as opposed to other places". We're not disagreeing about what the sentence is likely to mean. I just didn't want yadokari to think that having は under the quotation is not grammatically valid.
    – dainichi
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 13:37
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    But actually, I realize I was wrong too, since having the は under the quotation would mean "There are also/even people who say that [seeing a spider is a good thing in Japan]." which is slightly different from yadokari's translation.
    – dainichi
    Commented Oct 27, 2012 at 13:44
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It's saying "There are even people who say..." Since it's not really the norm to think that spiders are a good thing, it's emphasizing that there are some who do think so. が would work fine as well, but the も gives it the emphasis that even though this thing is unexpected or in the minority, there are some people who take that side.

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