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One of my friends sent me this picture of a Pokemon game:

Picture from Pokemon game

It says:

いつでも どこでも だれとでも が
ポケモン勝負の いいところ!

Although the meaning seems fairly obvious, I can't figure out how the grammar works.

I'm under the impression that が typically can't follow でも. (I can't remember where I learned this rule, but I can find references online that agree. For example, see the chart here on page 60 which says that が can't follow でも.)

So why can が follow でも here?

  1. Is it possible that something is omitted before が? (This idea seems strange to me...)

  2. Is it something like 「いつでも」「どこでも」「だれとでも」が, where each of those three is treated as though it's a noun?

How does the grammar work?

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Forget grammar here. Think of it as a catch copy or motto being the subject of a phrase. It is quite commmon in advertising. 「おいしいがかんたん!」 can be a catch copy for an instant food. 「きれいがたった3分で!」 can be the title of an article in a fashion magazine. – l'électeur Dec 2 '13 at 6:33
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I think that the whole phrase "いつでも どこでも だれとでも" is being treated as a noun phrase, (or rather list) as if there was an invisible (ということ/そのこと/そういうこと) before the が.

You wouldn't normally see が after でも, and I don't think it's anything particularly special - if someone said it they might have a dramatic pause or something after what they're using as a block phrase. I have a feeling I've experienced some examples of similar omissions before, but there was a fairly clear break between the thing being treated as a phrase and the が.

At the very least, Google comes up with a few examples of:

「いつでも、どこでも、だれでも」が - marking the phrase with 「」

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Probably this is not 100% grammatically correct but as a Japanese I don't find anything wrong.

Let's create another example. 「うまい、はやい、やすい、がうちのモットーです。」Adjective should not be used like this if you think about grammar, but we say this.

If you talk about only one characteristc, then we don't use a sentence like this. I don't think we say 「だれとでも が ポケモン勝負の いいところ!」. If you want to specifically discuss one thing, then 「だれとでも 遊べる の が ポケモン勝負の いいところ」would be appropriate.

An English expression I can think of is "woulda coulda shoulda" treated as noun. Well, this might not be similar, but three similar expressions are treated as a collection of nouns. Interesting.

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The expression does not follow our normal grammatical rules but if you have learnt to live with:

誰もがそうする。| Everybody does it.

The expression doesn't feel too unnatural (?), possibly reminiscent of the kind of Japanese that appears in the JLPT N1 to throw candidates off.

I also came across the following in space-ALC, which suggests the grammar / use is not unique:

誰でもが見られるように~の一番目立つ場所に置いてある | enjoy a prominent place in ~ for all to see

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What I learned for 誰も is that in positive sentences 誰も acts like a single lexical word, which allows it to be marked with が. In negative sentences, it acts like 誰 plus the particle も, so it can't be marked with が because you can't add が to も. I wonder whether this explanation works for 誰でもが. – snailboat Dec 2 '13 at 11:15
I did not know that - perhaps I should have followed your link. It still seems to be one of those colloquial uses that feel natural to native speaker even though they can't explain them. – Tim Dec 2 '13 at 11:19
It's just an explanation I read. I don't know whether it's the only explanation or even the best one. I think it's motivated by the desire to say "no particles attach to も" is universally true. – snailboat Dec 2 '13 at 11:21

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