This grammatical principle attaches to nouns only. It means “too” in positive sentences and “neither” in negative sentences. For example, if someone tells you they like cake, you could reply 나도, and that would mean, “Me too.” If someone – for some horrifying reason – tells you they don’t like cake and you – for some horrifying reason – also don’t like cake, you can reply 나도 and that would mean, “me neither”.
Sometimes in positive sentences, the meaning of 도 is closer to “even”. You’ll get a sense for how this feels through the examples at the end of this lesson.
No special rules apply for attaching this particle. Just attach it to the end of a noun. Whether that noun ends in a verb or consonant does not matter as it does with some other particles. One thing of note is that this particle replaces any subject/object marking particles that would otherwise have been attached to the noun.
Here’s the cool thing about this grammatical principle. Look at the English sentence: “I like cake too.” What does this mean? Does it mean that in addition to liking other things, I also like cake? Or does it mean that other people like cake and I also like cake? We have to rely on context and inflection to know that answer to that. But in Korean, this ambiguity is removed by attaching -도 to the appropriate noun.
Let’s talk about cake some more until we’ve got this down:
나 = I/me
-는 = the subject marking needed for in these sentences
케이크 = cake
를 = the object marking particle needed for 케이크 in these sentences
좋아하다 = to like
나는 케으크를 좋아해. ~ I like cake.
나는 케으크도 좋아해. ~ Because -도 is attached to 케이크, this sentence means that in addition to liking other things, I also like cake. Notice that 도 has replaced 를 at the end of 케이크.
나도 케으크를 좋아애. ~ Because -도 is attached to 나, this sentence means that someone else or some other people like cake, and I also like cake. Notice that 도 has replaced 는 at the end of 나.
One final note. This grammatical principal looks a little like -아도 / -오도 which means “even though/even if”. But -아도/-어도 is only used with verbs and adjectives and -도 is only used with nouns, so you should be able to avoid confusion.
대취타 (Daechwita) by Agust D:
나도 잃을건 많다고. ~ “Even I have a lot to lose.” or “I, too, have a lot to lose.”
Noun: 나 – I/me
지금도 매분 매순간 살아 숨쉬는 persona. ~ “The persona that I’m still living and breathing as every minute, every moment.”
Literal translation: “The persona that I’m now too living…”
Noun: 지금 – now
Make It Right:
끝도 보이지 않던 영원의 밤 ~ “In this eternal night with not an end in sight.”
Literal translation: “In this eternal night where not even the end can be seen.”
Noun: 끝 – the end of something
이번에도 쉽지 않아. ~ “It’s not easy this time either.”
Noun: 이번 – this time + -에 – at/on X
예술도 술이지 뭐 ~ “I guess art is alcohol too.”
Noun: 예술 – art
핸드폰은 내려놔. 고개 돌릴 생각도 마. ~ “Put down the phone. Don’t even think about turning your head away either.”
Noun: 생각 – a thought, the act of thinking
진실도 거짓이 돼. 거짓도 진실이 돼. ~ “The truth becomes a lie and lies become the truth.”
Literal translation: “Truth, too, becomes a lie. Lies, too, become truth.”
Nouns: 진실 – truth & 거짓 – a lie
너만큼 나도 만히 부서워. ~ “I’m as scared as you are.”
Noun: 너 – you