I'm trying to understand the sentence


but the bolded is throwing me off. Here I'm assuming "一刻も早い" is 一刻 + も + 早い, and here も is throwing me off.

I'm used to thinking of "も" as conveying things like "also", "additional", or "even though". So under this viewpoint:

  • 一刻: "moment"
  • も: "additional"
  • 早い: "is-quick"

So I'm tempted to parse this as "additional-moment-is-quick", though this doesn't make much sense.

Question: What does the も convey after 一刻? How would the meaning of the sentence change if the も was omitted, or if 一刻は was used instead? E.g.

  1. 一刻も早い: ?
  2. 一刻は早い: "as for a moment, is-quick"?
  3. 一刻早い: "quick moment"?

2 Answers 2


The も is close to even (though). as hiroki's answer suggests, it is usually でも as in 子供でも分かる (Even a child can understand (let alone grown-ups)).

Another thing is that 早い here is early/earlier.

So, 一刻も早く literally means earlier even by 一刻 (+ if it is earlier by days, it is better), which translates to more idiomatic asap.

Though it shouldn't be relevant, does not have a fixed length but is something like 15 - 40 mins.

  • Yes. 一刻 very short time. 一刻 feels a few minutes today. :-)
    – hiroki
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:21
  • 1
    Why 一刻も早く not 一刻でも早く? I think 「でも」 is too long same as "as soon as possible" becomes "ASAP". :-)
    – hiroki
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:24
  • Do you know why 早い ("even by a moment, more is-quick") was used in the original sentence, rather than 早く ("even by a moment, more quickly")?
    – George
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 16:17
  • Is this a good (literal) translation of the original sentence (一刻も早い解決を望みますね)? "Even (for as long as) a moment, we desire an is-more-quick[-than-that] resolution".
    – George
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 17:26
  • Re 早い/早く, it was just my misreading though both work. 早い as an adjective modifying 解決; 早く works as well because 解決 can be understood as a verb 解決する modified by adverb 早く. Re translation, I think it should be even for as short as a moment, other than that it should be fine.
    – sundowner
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 21:06

In this sentence も is not dditional も. This も can be replaced with でも. 「一刻も早く」 means 「as soon as possible」

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .