でも - Grammar Discussion

or something, “any…” with question words

Structure

  • Noun + でも,だれでもAnyone
  • なんでもAnything
  • どこでもAnywhere

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Is using “demo” inherently rude when saying it in a sentence? I’ve seen somewhere that you shouldn’t always use “demo” is why I’m asking.

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Sorry for late answer :bowing_man:

It is not really rude when used as “but” or “any”. However, using it as “or something” similar to とか might be considered rude when talking to your senpais at work, unknown people, older people etc.

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Could いつでも also be added to this list?
You’re using it in your example sentences and it is also mentioned in the れんしゅう source.

So, I guess anyone can sometimes mean everyone?

誰でも彼の名前を知っています。
Everyone knows his name.

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They have basically the same meaning here. It is literally translated as “Anyone knows his name”, but since that doesn’t sound as natural, “Everyone knows his name” is used.

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I’m having a hard time grasping how でも means “or something”.

“or something” implies that there might be something else.

For example, I came across this sentence:
お茶でもどう – “How about tea or something?”
This would theoretically be equivalent to “How about tea or something (else)?”

This seems far different from the other uses of でも seen so far.

I’ve mainly seen でも used to express extents (as far as, until, even, etc.) So an alternative meaning I’d deduce would be “Even tea - how would that be?” or less literally “If even there was tea, how would it be?”

I’ve also seen でも used to express universality (Any person, any thing, etc.). This meaning seems to derive a bit from the extent meaning, as the phrase 誰でも can be roughly translated as “even who”, which can be further extended to “even an unknown person”, which reaches the concept of “anyone”. So when I read the sentence お茶でもどう, the first thing that comes to mind is “Any tea - how would that be?”

Does this “or something” meaning connect to any of the other meanings of でも? If so, how? If not, how do I distinguish it from the other possible meanings of でも when it’s in use?

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I ran into the following sentence and was really thrown by the でも。

100 以上 の 人工 衛星 を 1 台 の ロケット で 打ち上げる こと は 、 世界 でも ほとんど あり ませ ん 。

I came back to bunpro and looked up the grammar point for でも and it confused me even more. I agree with the examples you gave to better explain how でも is actually working with nouns and the interogative words.