I've been trying to determine if there is a rule for when indefinite pronouns (何か, だれでも、 etc.) require a particle.

It seems like if the required particle is を or が, it gets "absorbed" into the pronoun...but not always?

Perhaps the particle is acceptable, but optional and usually omitted?

  • I read somewhere that in these cases, the particle is omitted only because the meaning is similar whether it is used or not. alc.co.jp/jpn/article/faq/03/244.html It's quite interesting. To my foreign ear, there is no difference at all meaning-wise, but the one where the particle is omitted may feel a bit less formal. – user31974 Nov 24 at 22:30
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    @CSPP You should take it into account to think that it can be used as an adverb. Especially, だれでも is not a noun but only an adverb while 何か can be either. At least, you shouldn't think that omission just makes it less formal. – user4092 Nov 25 at 13:52
  • Obviously, I wasn't talking about the cases where you use adverbs, and in sentences where the particles does add a different nuance, otherwise this question wouldn't make sense. But when the meaning is the same, the only difference I see is in the formality... – user31974 Nov 25 at 17:53
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    @CSPP "Cases where you use adverbs" virtually means omitting the particle itself (because Japanese grammar has double subject structure), and even if you don't use the particle particlularly without changing the point of emphasis, that doesn't make it less formal, concerning this kind of words. (That's why they're often categorized as adverbs) – user4092 Nov 27 at 11:13
  • I don't get your point. Omitting the particle in だれかいましたか doesn't make だれか an adverb. Also without any evidence, it feels obvious to me that there is a difference in formality, even if it's slight in most cases/almost unnoticeable. But I'm sure I can think of an example in which the difference is much more noticeable – user31974 Nov 27 at 13:15

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