Grammar Info
N3 Lesson 4: 3/21

no matter how (much)

いくら + Verb[ても]
いくら + [い]Adjective[ても]
  いくら + Noun + でも
いくら + [な]Adjective + でも
Register Standard
使用域 一般
In a similar way to どんなに~ても, いくら~でも is regularly translated to ‘no matter how (A), (B)’. However, unlike どんな (which is an abbreviation of どのような), いくら is a 名詞(めいし) that comes from the kanji 幾(いく)ら, meaning ‘how much’. When partnered with ても (with verbs and い-Adjectives), or でも (with nouns and な-Adjectives), the literal meaning means ‘however much (A), (B)’.
With いくら~でも, the (B) part of the phrase will usually highlight something that is being negated, giving the phrase it's ‘no matter how much’ nuance.
  • あの人(ひと)にいくら言(い)っても、何(なに)も変(か)わらないよ。
    No matter how much you tell him, he won't change.
  • いくら新(あたら)しくても落(お)としたら壊(こわ)れるに決(き)まってるじゃん。
    No matter how new it is, of course it is going to break if you drop it!
  • あの人(ひと)ことがいくら嫌(きら)いでもそんな事(こと)言(い)ったら可哀(かわい)そうだよ。
    No matter how much you dislike them, that is a hurtful thing to say.
  • いくら俺(おれ)でもそんな重(おも)いものは持(も)てないよ。
    No matter if it is me, I can't lift something that heavy. (Even if it is me, who is strong, I cant lift something that heavy)
Despite this trend of being used in sentences that contain ない or ありません, いくら~でも may also be seen in positive sentences. In these cases, despite not being negative, the (B) phrase will still be something that is surprising/unexpected in some way (due to its extent or amount).
  • 相談(そうだん)ならいくらでも聞(き)いてあげるよ。
    I'll listen to you vent however much you need.
  • お菓子(かし)ならいくらでもあるから好(す)きだけ持(も)っていきな!
    As for snacks, I have plenty, so take all you want!
Fun Fact
幾(いく)ら places more emphasis on the ‘amount’ of something, while どんなに places more emphasis on the ‘type’, or ‘style’. Due to this, いくら will be a better choice when the ‘volume’ of something is being highlighted, while どんなに will sound more natural when the ‘state’ is being discussed.
  • お金(かね)はいくら払(はら)ってもいいのでその靴(くつ)私(わたし)下(くだ)さい。
    I will pay however much for those shoes, so please let me have them! (Amount only)
  • お金(かね)はどんなに払(はら)ってもいいのでその靴(くつ)私(わたし)下(くだ)さい。
    I will pay whatever sort of money for those shoes, so please let me have them! (Possible amount or type. Dollar, yen, euro, etc)
Despite this small difference, いくら and どんなに are used fairly interchangeably in most situations.
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