I have come across this sentence:


Why does it say どこでも X がある instead of どこにも X がある

I understand that で and に are very similar as they have ties in the past, but I just don't understand the difference in meaning here.


"で" in どこでも is not the particle "で" meaning "at" or "in". Here, "でも" is something like English "-ever" or "any-" in whatever, anywhere, etc.

  • だれでも whoever
  • だれにでも勝てる I can defeat anyone. (~に勝つ = defeat ~)
  • いつでも whenever
  • いつまででも (lit. until whenever) forever
  • なんでも whatever
  • どこでも (in/at) wherever
  • どこにでも行く go (to) wherever
  • どこへでも行く go (to) wherever
  • どこまででも行く go (to) wherever
  • どこからでもやって来る come from anywhere
  • AとBのどちらでも使える Both A and B are usable.

This で is dropped in negative sentences:

  • ここにはなにもない There is nothing here. (*なんでも is incorrect)
  • だれもいない There is nobody. (*だれでも is incorrect)
  • だれにも勝てない I can defeat no one. (*だれにでも is incorrect)
  • いつも17時には帰れない I can never leave my office at 17. (*いつでも is incorrect)
  • いつまでも子供のままではいられない You can't stay a kid forever. (*いつまででも is incorrect)
  • どこからも電話がかかってこない I get phone calls from nobody. (*どこからでも is incorrect)
  • AとBのどちらも使えない Both A and B are unusable. (* どちらでも is incorrect)

According to this rule, "どこでも銭湯があります", "どこにでも銭湯があります", and "どこにも銭湯がありません" are all correct, while "どこにでも銭湯がありません" is incorrect.

There are always exceptions. The following sentences are correct, because it's semantically positive:

  • いつでも構わない Any time is fine.
  • どこでも問題ない Anywhere is fine.

Can we drop で in positive sentences? It depends.

  • *だれも出来る is incorrect (だれでも出来る is OK)
  • *なにも食べる is incorrect (なんでも食べる is OK)
  • いつも遊んでいる (いつでも is also OK)
  • どこも休日は混雑している (どこでも is also OK)
  • 一緒にどこまでも行こう (どこまででも is also OK)

As for 「どこにでも」, I feel it's acceptable to drop で in positive sentences.

In conclusion, 「昔はどこにも銭湯があった」「昔はどこにでも銭湯があった」「昔はどこでも銭湯があった」 are all OK as long as they're positive sentences. I think there is no considerable nuances between the three.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Nice answer! I think I find どこにも for positive sentences slightly marked, though. どこにも to me has negative polarity. After 「いつも車でどこ行くの?」,「どこにも…」is understood to mean どこにも行かない, and not とこにでも行く. Also one observation: polarity often depends on pronunciation. ど↓こも has positive polarity, どこも (no downstep) has negative polarity. – dainichi Jul 8 '14 at 6:23
  • 1
    Good point, I say "[どこにも]{HLLL}銭湯があった" and "[どこにも]{LHHH}銭湯がなかった", though I'm not sure this is the standard accent. – naruto Jul 8 '14 at 6:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.