Are sentences A, B, and C all correct? If not, which are incorrect and why? If they are all correct, does it mean that に and と can always be used interchangeably with adverbs? And that に and と aren't actually needed?

A: 彼女はかんかん怒った。
B: 彼女はかんかん怒った。
C: 彼女はかんかん怒った。

  • 1
    「かんかん」だけについての質問と考えていいでしょうか? それとも他の副詞(「かちかち」とか「ぴかぴか」とか、「すぐ」「絶対」「ゆっくり」「てっきり」とかいろいろ。。)全般に関する質問と考えるべきでしょうか? – Chocolate Oct 24 '18 at 3:13

When かんかん means "furious(ly)", 明鏡国語辞典 defines it as "an adverb that takes に", デジタル大辞泉 defines it as a na-adjective, and 大辞林 defines it as an adverb. Indeed it's confusing, but at least to me, かんかん in this sense is a no-adjective, which means I feel only Sentence A is correct. You can use it as a predicate.

  • 彼女はかんかんに怒っている。
  • 今、彼女はかんかんだ。
  • かんかんの彼女とは話をしたくない。

However, when かんかん describes strong sunshine, it also works as "an adverb that optionally takes と", just like ゆっくり(と), ガタガタ(と), etc.:

  • 太陽がかんかん照り付けている。
  • 太陽がかんかんと照り付けている。
  • 太陽がかんかんに照り付けている。
  • かんかんの太陽

In uncommon situations where かんかん works as a simple onomatopoeia, it's an "adverb that optionally takes と".

  • 空き缶をカンカンと叩く。
  • 空き缶をカンカン叩く。

Only A is correct. かんかん is adjective verb in this sentence. に is used for adjective verb, and と is used for adverb. In case of adverb, と is omissible, but に for adjective verb is always needed.


  • As far as I can see, the link you gave lists かんかん as either an adverb (副) or an adjectival noun (形動). Beyond the technical nomenclature, I'm still not clear on how to differentiate between かんかんと響き渡る (副)and かんかんに怒る(形動). In other words, in both cases かんかん is modifying the verb. How do you know whether a particular verb takes the と usage or the に usage? – kandyman Oct 23 '18 at 12:59
  • If it is an adjectival noun that uses に, how can this modify a verb and not be considered an adverb? I would understand if it was just かんかんになった or something, but かんかんに怒る seems to be a very clear adverbial use. – kandyman Oct 23 '18 at 13:15
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    デジタル大辞泉では副詞と形容動詞になってますけど、大辞林第三版(デジタル大辞泉の下のほう)ではどちらの意味の「かんかん」も副詞になってますね・・。明鏡国語辞典でも両方の意味の「かんかん」が副詞に分類されてますね・・(「〘副トニ〙」って書いてあります) – Chocolate Oct 23 '18 at 13:23
  • 1
    ぷんぷんと is not possible -- でも・・明鏡国語辞典には、「ぷんぷん〘副 〙❶強いにおいがただよって鼻につくさま。『酒気がぷんぷん(と)におう』❷腹を立てて機嫌が悪いさま。『ぷんぷん(と)怒って帰る』」って書いてありますが・・・ デジタル大辞泉と大辞林第三版 に載ってる例も「ぷんぷんと」を使ってます – Chocolate Oct 23 '18 at 13:50
  • 1
    ここを見てるんだけど、この違いってもしかして物理的に何かが「カンカンになっている」(カンカンに凍る、の様に)と特別に「カンカンになって怒る」(激怒する様子の表現)以外は全て「カンカン(と)」に該当するんじゃないですか。「カンカンになる」という表現で言い換えられないと「に」が使えない気がします。例えば、「太陽がカンカンと差してくる」に代えて「太陽がカンカンになる」と言おうとすると違和感ないですか? – heretomurimudamura Oct 23 '18 at 17:04

As for those three sentences, only A 'かんかんに怒る” is correct.
Grammatically, “に“ and “と“ is not interchangeable, and they have slightly different nuance.

In the sentence “かんかんに怒る“, “に“ is not a particle, but a part of the adjective verb “かんかんだ”. Any adjective verb has an unchangeable part and changeable part(だ).
When an adjective is followed by a verb, “だ“ changes into “に”.

For example,
1. 彼女はきれいに踊(おど)った。 きれい(=unchangeable)だ(=changeable). The adjective verb “きれいだ“ is followed by the verb “おどる(=dance)”. So, ”きれいだ“ changes into ”きれいに“.

  1. 私は日本語を上手(じょうず)に話す。 The adjective verb “じょうずだ” changes into “じょうずに” when followed by the verb “はなす“.

“に” can be a particle as well as a part of an adjective verb, whereas “と“ works only as a particle. That’s why you can’t say “かんかんなる”.

enter image description here An unchangeable part is called 語幹(gokan), and a changeable part is called 活用語尾(katsuyou-gobi). Every 用言(verb/adverb/adjective) has 語幹 and 活用語尾. This picture shows how an adjective verb changes depending on the following word. さわやかだ changes to さわやかに when it forms 連用形(followed by a verb). In this case, as the chart shows, there’s no option for さわやかと as an adjective verb. Also, に in さわやかに is not a postpositional particle but a part of the adjective verb. In the same way, かんかんに in the sentence A is 連用形 of the adjective verb “かんかんだ“, which is one word, and there’s no possibility that it turns to “かんかんと“ in this case.

However, かんかんと is an adverb, and it’s not かんかん(noun) + と(particle). かんかんと as an adverb is not used when referring to someone getting mad. It’s only used when referring to strong sun sunshine or making sounds as another answerer already explained.

Both かんかんに( an adjective verb / 形動) and かんかんと( an adverb/ 副 ) don’t include に or と as a postpositional particle. In this case, they are a part of completely different words (に is 活用語尾 of an adjective verb whereas と is just a part of an adverb). That’s why they are not interchangeable in this case.

  • I know the difference between に and と, but what I was wondering was in the specific case of adverbial use whether there were equivalences. Also, forgive me but you are saying that に isn't a particle?? I'm not sure what kind of linguistic explanation you 're referring to, but に is regarded as a particle universally. きれいだ is adjective+copula - your term 'unchangeable' and 'changeable' are very vague. Yes, に with a na-adjective allows the adjective to function as an adverb when followed by a verb, just as く does with i-adjectives. But that doesn't explain why only と is acceptable in Sentence A. – kandyman Oct 26 '18 at 23:32
  • Forgive me my explanation wasn't enough. I attached a picture which explains how an adjective verb like かんかんだ changes, and に is a part of one word, not a particle in this case. ( に works as a particle as well depending on the situation ) Hope you could take a look. – Kana Oct 27 '18 at 0:10
  • This makes more sense as I was wondering if you meant 連用形. So かんかんに is the 連用形 of かんかん when it is used as an adjective, right? But when かんかん is used as an adverb there is no 連用形 so it just takes と. Is that what you mean? – kandyman Oct 27 '18 at 13:50
  • @kandyman Yes, かんかんに is the 連用形 of かんかんだ when it is used as an adjective verb (形容動詞). But かんかんと is an adverb(副詞), which has no 活用形. かんかんに(形動)怒る。カンカンと(副)太陽が照り付ける。カンカンと(副)音を鳴らす。カンカンに as 形容動詞 is only used only when you refer to people who are furious, and in other cases, かんかんと as 副詞 is used. As for these differences, it’s the way it is rather than something grammatical. Does it make sense? – Kana Oct 27 '18 at 14:11
  • This makes more sense, thank you for your answer. It's still quite confusing to me, but I think that is because it seems to be a case where there is a somewhat arbitrary classification as either 形容動詞 or 副詞. But I appreciate your helpful explanation! – kandyman Oct 27 '18 at 14:22

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