なにか・なにも - Grammar Discussion

something・nothing
anything
any kind of
some kind of

Structure

  • 何か + Verb [る]
  • 何も + Verb [ない]
  • 何か + Noun + Verb [る]
  • 何も + Noun + Verb [ない]
  • 何か + Adjective
  • 何も + Adjective [くない・じゃない]

[Both なんにか・なんか and なんにも・なんも are used in casual speech and in certain dialects]

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In this example sentence, why is する used in its progressive form?

いいえ、何もしていませんよ。
No, you didn’t do anything (wrong).

Would it make any difference if the plain negative past form was used instead?

いいえ、何もしませんでしたよ。

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@deltacat3 Hey! ていない is often used to describe events or actions that did not happen/take place in the past. This is especially true for events/actions that occurred recently. Here is a great breakdown of the difference between ていません and ませんでした. Cheers!

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Thanks for the insight yet again @Pushindawood! That was an good read! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hi there,
as far as I understood the topic:
なにか = something specific, while なにも is used for something not specific (something vs anything)
Could someone please explain why this answer is marked wrong ?

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Hey and welcome on the community forums :grinning:

This is a very, very good question. It is more about the English approximation of Japanese, rather than Japanese itself though.

English:

  • something means that thing is unknown and is used mostly in positive sentences.

  • anything means a thing of any kind and it is used both in questions and negative sentences

Japanese:

  • 何か is used in affirmative sentences and questions, so in affirmative ones, it is translated as something, and in questions, it can be translated as anything
  • 何も is generally used in negative sentences, so it can be translated as anything or nothing
  • 何でも is generally used in affirmative sentences and means everything

More details about 何も、何でも、何か:

Basically adding to question word (interrogative word) in negative sentences expresses total negation.
知らなかった。
I didn’t know anything.

can be also added to question word in positive sentences, meaning that it applies to all cases. Though 何 is a bit of exception and 何も is very often used in negative sentences and 何でも in positive ones. Though you can see 何でも (fairly common) in negative ones and 何も in positive (fairly rare). いつも and others expressions like 誰も are used equally often in negative/positive sentences.

先輩はいつ助けてくれる。
Senpai always helps me.

Adding (which expresses doubt) to an interrogative word means that the thing is unspecified or unknown. It is not definite.

ハルヒ消失とその行動の中に何関係があるだろう。
There probably is some kind of connection between the disappearance of Haruhi and that activity.
(何か+noun means some kind of…)

That is basically all, I hope it helps.
Cheers,

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I think I’ve reached a consistent understanding of the concept of なにも and its ilk.

  1. なにも・なにか・だれも・etc. are adverbs, so they modify the whole predicate, rather than nouns like in English.
  2. も is the equivalent of logical “for any X” and か is the equivalent of “for some X”.
  3. When XXか・も is the target of は・が・を, they are replaced by the か・も. This is similar to how も behaves when used in the “too” sense.
  4. When XXか・も is the target of other particles like に・で・へ・と・から・etc., the も moves past them.

With those in mind, these statements makes sense:

  • ジョン・スノー、何も知らない: you know nothing, Jon Snow
    • も replaces を here
    • for any X, X を知らない
  • 何でもない: it’s nothing
    • conceptually, from 何も では じゃない
    • も moves past で and replaces は
    • for any X, X では じゃない
  • 何もない: nothing exists
    • conceptually, from 何も が ない
    • も replaces が
    • for any X, X が ない
  • 何かたべたい: I want to eat something
    • か replaces を
    • for some X, X をたべたい
  • どこでもいい: Anywhere is fine
    • conceptually, from どこも で は いい
    • も moves past で and replaces は
    • for any place X, X で は いい

Please let me know if this makes sense or is missing something. The for any/all interpretation also seems to work for the でも point, although I can’t quite explain where the で comes from in some of the cases there.

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「彼は箱の中からなにか取りでした。」
「えっ?僕は何も見てないよ。」
“He took something out of the box.”
“Huh? I didn’t see anything.”

In the second sentence, why is 見ていない used to express the past tense of see, instead of 見なかった?

It’s not expressing the past tense as such, it’s expressing the state of not having seen anything which is ongoing in the present.

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@deltacat3 To add to what @nekoyama said, ていない is often used to describe events or actions that did not happen/take place in the past. This is especially true for recent events/actions. Here is a great breakdown of the difference between ていません and ませんでした. Cheers!

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So if I understand this correctly, the ていない preference is based on how recent or related to the current situation a past action/event is.

Thank you for all of this information @nekoyama & @Pushindawood. This feels quite similar to the reasoning behind ている’s resultant state.

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Howdy fellas! I’m a little confused, in the example sentence

日本にほんに行いって、なにか 食たべたいものがありますか

What does the ものが indicate? I’m assuming the の is present to nominalise the “the something you want to eat” and the が is the subject marker for said phrase, but what does the も represent? Based on my very limited knowledge も is used for either phrases like “also” or “too” when marking the subject or to emphasize a certain number amount, but I can for the life of me find out what this も does. It might be covered in a grammar point I haven’t made it to yet, but i searched for some stuff and didn’t find anything. Any help would be appreciated, Thanks in advanced!

もの is the word もの meaning “thing”. It’s modified by 食べたい and becomes a thing one wants to eat. が marks it as a subject.

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makes sense