I saw a few bits here and elsewhere on it, but I have yet to find something that explains its usage, in detail(e.g. in positive and negative contexts and in different tenses). Anyone know?


It only means "either way", "anyhow", "anyway", etc with a fatalist nuance, hence it can sound negative for some.

You can find it as other forms like どっちにしろ or どっちにせよ.


While I'm sure the underlying grammar makes the analogy a rather liberal one, I have always tended to feel that these were similar to patters in English that use "be". That is, an old form of the subjunctive:

Be it A, or be it B, it's fine regardless.

Whichever it be.

Whatever the case be.

The pattern can always (well, usually) be reworded using も to mean essentially the same thing.

なんせ* (no strict conversion; maybe 何が何でも)

  • Who downvoted this without comment? – Angelos May 5 '16 at 9:55
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    「なんせ」 can be reworded as なにせ、なにしろ、なんにせよ、なんにしても, or ともかく. (It doesn't mean 何が何でも.) どうせ and なんせ are not interchangeable. どうせ = 所詮. どうせ has a nuance of 諦め、自嘲、蔑視 – Chocolate May 5 '16 at 15:03
  • I know it doesn't mean 何が何でも; I was trying (too hard) to stretch the "replaceable with も in theory" point. Saying なにせ and なにしろ etc are possible replacements doesn't really help much -- they are all just different forms of the 命令形. ともかく is potentially helpful though, I would think. – Brandon May 5 '16 at 17:40
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    なにしろ etc are ... they are all just different forms of the 命令形 >> 「なんにしても」は 「different form of the 命令形」じゃないです。 「しても」だから命令形じゃないです。 「なんせ」の "replaceable with も in theory" には、「何が何でも」より「何にしても」のほうが使えると思いますが。 – Chocolate May 6 '16 at 15:15

Since it is late to go now, I decided not go anyway.

It is similar to "anyway". But, you should use "douse" in negative context only.

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