The Particle しも

第202課: The Particle しも

This particle is very limited in use, but it is not that difficult. 

The Adverbial Particle しも

しも is essentially an emphatic し. However, its use in a sentence reflects a more productive use of し itself. Though we often see し in the spoken language today, the particle has existed for a long time, and the combination of the emphatic し and emphatic も has been around just as long. Although しも has survived along with し, its usage is primarily restricted to the following phrases. Notice how it is designated to nominal (or nominalized) phrases or after adverbial phrases. 

Aside from the last phrase 折しも, all of these phrases are used in negative sentences. This just goes to show you how many restrictions are on its use, and it’s no surprise that most of these phrases are most frequently used in 書き言葉. 

 誰しも Everyone, anyone (very emphatic) ~ならまだしも It’s one thing, but…
 必ずしも Not necessarily ~なきにしもあらず  It’s not to say that…won’t
 折しも  Just then  

Phrase Noteかならずしも is often paired with ~とはかぎらない ending the sentence.

Speech Style Note: ~なきにしもあらず and 折しも are especially 書き言葉. 

Variant Note: A rarer variant of 折しも is 時しも. This essentially does not show up in Modern Japanese works, but it does show up sometimes in Early Modern Japanese works. Meaning wise, 折 and 時 mean the same thing here. 

1. 誰しも地獄じごくちるのはこわい。
    Everyone is afraid of going to hell.

2. 勢力せいりょくはそれ自体じたいでは必ずしも幸福こうふくをもたらすとは限らない。
    Power, in itself, doesn’t necessarily bring happiness.  

3. 折しも、地震が起きました。
   Just at that time, the earthquake occurred.

4. 折しも、雪崩が発生し、登山者の二人は行方不明となった。依然として行方不明のままである。
Just then, the avalanche was sparked, and the two mountain climbers went missing. They are still to this moment unaccounted for. 


This phrase can be used after nouns, verbs, and adjectives. For verbs and adjectives, you attach it to the 終止形. For 形容動詞, simply add after the stem.  

5. 1日か2つかならまだしも、10日も無断欠勤だなんて、許されないものだし、非常識だ。 
It’s one thing to be 1 or 2 days, but an over ten day unexcused leave is intolerable and against common sense.

6. 新鮮ならまだしも、変色して黒ずんでいる果物を誰が買うものなのか。  
    Being fresh is one thing, but who would ever by fruit that’s discolored and black?7. 日本語ならまだしも、英語えいごなんて全く全然分からないよ。
    Japanese is one thing, but I absolutely don’t understand English at all!

8. 寒いだけならまだしも、お腹が空いてきた。 
  If it were just cold, that would be one thing, but I’ve gotten hungry. 

9. 事情を説明しに来るならまだしも、顔さえ見せない。 
  Coming to explain the situation is one thing, but (he) won’t even show his face. 

10. 一度ならまだしも、ここまで10回までその言葉を間違えて書いたんですよ。
   Once is fine, but you’ve written the word incorrectly ten times now. 

11. まだしも死んだ方が良い。 
     It would be best to just die.


This is a double negative phrase which functions as a positive expression, and it ultimately has the meaning of 有り得る. Although it is a predicate phrase, it is still followed by the copula. Remember thatしも is here to show emphasis (強調). It is seldom used in the spoken language, but it can still show up.  

12. あの子はまだのぞみはなきにしもあらずだ。
      It’s not to say that the kid doesn’t have (any) hope.

13. 台風が接近しているので、雨が降る事もなきにしもあらずなので、傘をお忘れなく。
The typhoon is approaching, so don’t forget your umbrella because it’s not like it couldn’t rain.

14. 急にカメラが壊れることもなきにしもあらずですよ。 
   It’s not to say that your camera won’t suddenly break down. 

15. 後数分で事故などで死ぬ事もなきにしもあらずだからだ。
That’s because it’s not the case that you won’t die in an accident or something a few minutes later. 

With Other Particles? 

16. 男たちは縁側で将棋に興じている。街路樹のプラタナスの葉ずれ。ああいうのをしも、人間の文化といわずし て、何というのだろう。
The men are amusing themselves with shogi on the veranda while plane trees rustle on the sides of the road. What would you call this if not human culture?
By 田辺聖子in 古川柳おちぼひろい. 

Grammar Note: The particle しも used to be more versatile in the past. In the example above, the particle is used after を. This is very rare now, but it is not ungrammatical.   

必ず VS きっと VS 絶対ぜったい(に)

So, given that you have now seen these three similar words for quite a while, you’re probably wondering how they’re different. There is overlap. So, focus not only on the differences but also the commonalities. 


  • Based on observation, the probability of something happening is high.  It may show strong determination or show strong will towards the listener(s). It is like “surely”. It may be seen at the beginning, middle, or at the end of a sentence. 
  • It can also mean “certainly”, synonymous with たしかに and うたがいなく. Therefore it isn’t used in a question. In a command it is like “without fail”, just like 必ず.
  • きっと…する = “to be sure to…”. 
  • きっと…だ = “have to be” 
  • きっと…にちがいない = “must be…”. 

It can also show sternness.  


  • Without a doubt, something will be done or happen. It is far more firm. Probability is 100%. It is like “always”, and in meaning so it makes a general noun the subject.
  • It can mean “surely” just like きっと and be seen in the same locations in the sentence.
  • 必ずや is an even more emphatic form. 
  • “Necessarily” as in something is inevitable, interchangeable with 必然的ひつぜんてきに. 
  • In a command, it means “by all means/without fail”. 
  • Some commands with the pattern 必ず…する may mean “be sure to/make certain”. 
  • 必ずしも~ない completely negates something and is equivalent to 絶対そう…とは限らない. 
  • 必ず is much more serious than きっと despite that they’re used in similar environments. 


  • No matter what
  • Positively/definitely
  • With the negative it means “never”. 
  • It is often used with phrases that mean “must”, “will” and “would” to be similar to “on not account”, clearly in a negative sentence. 
  • Unlike the others, it is more constructive and can be used as an noun and used as an attribute as 絶対の・絶対的ぜったいてきな to mean “absolute/indispensable”. 

              Some of these things feature grammar points that we haven’t studied yet, but you should know the overall usage of these three words.17. 絶対に確信かくしんがあります。      I’m absolutely sure.

18. 絶対にそうだ。
      There’s no doubt about it.

19. 絶対零度を測定する
      To record absolute zero

20. 彼女は必ずしも忙しくない。
       She’s not always busy.

21. 戦争は必ず起こる。
      War will inevitably occur.

22. 必ず約束やくそくまもってください。
      Do not fail to keep your word/promise.  

23. 明日中にはきっとうかがいます。
       I will certainly come sometime tomorrow. 

24. 絶対的な権力けんりょくを握る。
      To grab absolute power

25. 僕らはきっと勝つ。
       We will surely win.

26. きっとだ、間違まちがいない。
       I’ll be bound.

27. それは絶対だめだよ。
      That’ll never do.

28. そんなことを絶対にしてはいけません。
      You must never do something like that.