The following sentences are from a reading passage. I'm confused on the third sentence - the previous two are just given for context.

日本ではどこに行っても、「きまりですから」という言葉を耳にする。 これを言われてしまうと、こちらにはもう反論の余地はない。どんなに常識的で正当な理由もこの言葉にはかなわない。

I understand that the meaning is something like "No matter what kind of commonplace or appropriate reasons you give, there's nothing you can do about those words." But there's no verb ("give" in the case of "give a reason"), and it would seem どんなに would only apply if there was some kind of verb (for example, どんなに...理由を挙げても). As it stands, shouldn't it be どんな...理由(で)も? What am I missing here?


The どんな here takes a に because it's being used adverbially to modify adjectives 常識的 and 正当. The bit up through the も is parseable as one big noun phrase, which could be diagrammed as:

[NP [ADV どんなに [ADJP [ADJ 常識的] [CONJ で] [ADJ 正当] [PRT な]]] [N 理由]]

(Click this link, paste the above into the text field, choose a Japanese-compatible font like JP-Gothic, and click the Draw PNG button to see a prettier version of the diagram.)

Code key:

  • NP == noun phrase
  • ADV == adverb
  • ADJP == adjective phrase
  • ADJ == adjective
  • CONJ == conjunction
  • PRT == particle
  • N == noun
  • When modifying adjectives, I'm used to seeing the structure NがどんなにADJても. So as an example, you're saying that these two are the exact same: 車がどんなに速くても and どんなに速い車も?
    – Hikonyan
    Jul 9 '14 at 12:42
  • 1
    The different kakariai results in different nuances and emphasis. 車がどんなに速くても == "no matter how fast the car is"; どんなに速い車も == "any car, no matter how fast". So the noun phrase in your question sentence could be translated as "any reason, no matter how common-sense and reasonable..." Jul 9 '14 at 17:07
  • Ah, that makes complete sense now. Thanks much
    – Hikonyan
    Jul 9 '14 at 20:01
  • Cheers. If this answer works for you, please click the checkmark icon on the left to let others know. Jul 10 '14 at 5:50

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