Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 1: 1/18

Or something, Any... (with question words), No matter (who)

Noun + でも + Suggestion
だれでも - Anyone
なんでも - Anything
どこでも - Anywhere
いつでも - Anytime
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使用域 一般
でも is one of many adverbial particles in Japanese. These are particles that behave like a regular 助詞(じょし) (in that they appear after the words that they are referencing), but their role is a little bit more specific. でも itself has several uses, and the use that we will examine in this grammar point is called 例示(れいじ). Basically this means ‘presenting examples’.
In English, this results in a translation similar to ‘even’, or ‘or something’. To use this structure, simply attach でも to the end of any 名詞(めいし)(noun), or 代名詞(だいめいし) (pronoun).
  • お茶(ちゃ)でも飲(の)みましょうか
    Shall we drink some tea, or something?
  • 大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)、お前(まえ)でも出来(できる)
    It's okay, even someone like you can do it.
When grouped with a standard noun as above, でも is just showing that the noun is an example/suggestion, and that there are other choices/possibilities available. However, when the noun is a word like 誰(だれ), どこ, 何(なん), or いつ, the translation becomes much closer to English words like ‘anyone’, ‘anywhere’, ‘anything’, or ‘anytime’.
  • この簡単(かんたん)漢字(かんじ)誰(だれ)でも分(わ)か
    Everyone knows this easy kanji.
  • 「明日(あした)どこ行(い)きたい?」「どこでもいい。」
    ‘Where do you want to go tomorrow?’ ‘Anywhere is fine.’
  • お前(まえ)本当(ほんとう)何(なん)でも食(た)べ
    You really do eat anything.
  • いつでも電話(でんわ)
    Please, call me anytime.
Fun Fact
There is debate among Japanese native speakers about whether でも should be considered its own word, or if it is actually just a combination of the particles and (or and in the case of verbs, but we will cover that later). As and together could be translated as ‘even with (A)’, it would also be correct to consider it this way.
  • スプーンでも缶詰(かんずめ)開(あ)
    A can will open, even with a spoon.
When grouped with 何(なに), the pronunciation will almost always change to なん. This is purely to make なんでも easier to say.
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Anywhere is good.
Please come to my house anytime.
I will answer the phone anytime.
みんなの日本語 I
Page 134 [CH 21]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 111
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 102