Could you explain to me how どうにもなんない works ?

I know that どうにも + V + ない = not by any means, but here I have なん in between instead of a verb.

Context: a boy has just died and is being discouraged to move on to the after life.


My try:

Since you are dead, you can't even hook up with anyone ! Since you don't have a body, there is nothing you can do


as – istrasci suggested, is is どうにもなんない = どうにもなない ??

I believed before it was どうにもなない ?

  • 1
    Does this help? japanese.stackexchange.com/a/41478/78
    – istrasci
    Dec 8 '20 at 6:55
  • thanks for the pointer, I'm still not sure. Anyways, I have updated the question
    – Makoto
    Dec 8 '20 at 7:08
  • 1
    @istrasci is correct, it does mean どうにもならない. And your translation is correct too. It is (to me) a very Japanese idiom that does not have an exact equivalent in english, but it more or less "it will not become anything" (no matter what you try, you will not achieve anything). Note that while your general understanding of どうにも + V + ない is correct, I cannot help but wonder if どうにもならない is a special case derived from どうもこうもならない. I may be completely wrong, but in any case it is an interesting old tale! Dec 8 '20 at 11:17
  • It's right - ならない is contracted in casual speech to なんない
    – hasen
    Dec 8 '20 at 14:12

どうにもなんない is a contracted form of どうにもならない, which means "there is no way", "it amounts to nothing", "hopeless", "to end up being meaningless" etc., depending on the context.

This contraction pattern is described in general here: https://japanese.stackexchange.com/a/61959/5010

So "naranai" becomes "nan-nai".

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