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A Japanese learner I know had written a sentence that contained the phrase 「日本の文化はだれでも楽しむものじゃないか?」, however this was corrected to 「日本の文化はだれもが楽しむものじゃないか?」 by a native speaker. Based on the explanations about 疑問詞 elsewhere on this site (such as here, here or here), I'm confused why だれもが is right but だれでも is wrong.

I'm trying to rationalize it based on English translations:

だれでも楽しむ = "Anyone enjoys". Sounds a bit awkward.

だれもが楽しむ = "Everyone enjoys". This sounds more natural. But why is the が a requirement?

だれでも楽しめる・だれもが楽しめる = "Anyone can enjoy" / "Everyone can enjoy". Both of these sound natural in English. Is either one also OK in Japanese? Is the が in だれもが a requirement here?

What are the rules here?

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  • Not directly related to the main question, but what do you think 日本の文化は(だれでも/だれもが)楽しむものじゃないか? means as a whole? It doesn't sound a "natural" natural sentence to me without a context. Apr 12 at 8:30
  • In a very casual online server, a Japanese learner posted 「俺は決して日本人になれません、そうだがそもそも俺は日本人になりたいつもりじゃなかったけど。日本の文化はだれでも楽しむものじゃないか?文句あるか?あるなら死ね。」 and had some points corrected by a native speaker to make it sound more natural. I'm mainly concerned here about the grammatical reasoning for the だれでも → だれもが change though. In my head, a translation for「日本の文化はだれもが楽しむものじゃないか?」would be "Isn't Japan's culture something everyone enjoys?"
    – Hikonyan
    Apr 12 at 15:12
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~でも in だれでも should be equated to であっても "even to be", so だれでも = だれであっても = "no matter who (s/he) is". Translating it as "anyone" is indeed a clever way, as it puts stress on that no one is exception. Grammatically, the particle is under the same category with は and such (取り立て助詞 "focus particle"), so here you can take it as a sentence adverb.

だれも{HLL} in だれもが is a special pseudo-noun, which obviously derives from だれも{LHH}. Since the particled phrase だれも, literally "whoever", is only paired with negation in the modern language, we have had to work out a synonym usable in a positive sentence, so this weird form has born. Consider it as a special form of "whoever" in the nominative case.

Now, the intricate portion is the predicate 楽しむもの(じゃないか). It is not accurate enough to interpret using the English present tense like "something (one) enjoys". Japanese present form is by default future-oriented, thus the strictest reading is "something to enjoy".

With that, if you put だれでも楽しむもの, it will literally yield "something to enjoy, no matter who (s/he) is". This would be used to tell "everyone should or is likely to enjoy rather than not" or "everyone should enjoy rather than doing other things", which is somewhat off the point in this argument. It does not mean the combination is unnatural, for example you can say:

漢字はだれでも習うものじゃないか

On the other hand, だれもが楽しむもの(だ) is "something for whoever to enjoy" (= something to V + whoever enjoys), which is more neutral in nuance.

However, I don't think だれもが楽しむ is the most natural expression in this case, because it suggests everyone now does or is going to enjoy (which is a bit too strong remark unless in a manga circle). In the context (see OP comment), what the speaker intends is probably that it is open to everyone who wants to enjoy, that would be:

だれもが楽しむようなもの
(だれでも/だれもが)楽しめるもの
(だれでも/だれもが)楽しめるようなもの

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  • Thank you for the detailed response. I had to read it over several times, but it seems like the crux of the answer is a very subtle nuance of 楽しむもの. I suspect this use of もの matches definition [名]5㋒ in this dictionary: dictionary.goo.ne.jp/word/%E3%82%82%E3%81%AE/#jn-219726. I have a few follow-up questions before confirming the answer (see comment below).
    – Hikonyan
    Apr 13 at 4:34
  • (1) Are there any other "psuedo-nouns" crafted from 疑問詞+も? (2) Can you fix the typo "...because it everyone is going to enjoy..." in the last paragraph? I'm not clear what you meant here. (3) I'm still not quite clear on why だれでも楽しむもの is "off the point". You mentioned it implies "everyone should enjoy rather than doing other things"; what might these "other things" be? Why wouldn't this same "off the point" nuance apply with 漢字はだれでも習うもの?
    – Hikonyan
    Apr 13 at 4:34
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    @Hikonyan I know that ~ものだ is taught as an idiom in the second language teaching so purposefully avoided mentioning that. Actually that is a usage extended from the base meaning [dictionary form] + もの, and there is no clear border between "the idiomatic もの" and others. Apr 13 at 6:41
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    @Hikonyan (1) It's not systematized but the peculiar feature of 何も and 誰も which became negative polarity items. 何も → 何もかも(が) (2) Oops, I can't remember what it should've been but I'll fix it. (3) By "do other things" I meant other verbs: eat, throw, hit etc. 漢字はだれでも習うもの is meant to be an "everyone should or is likely to do rather than not" example e.g. uttered in a situation "Why don't you like learning kanji? Kanji is what everybody learns." Apr 13 at 7:08
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    @Hikonyan Aside from whether my explanation is clear enough, what I think really irregular in this topic is only だれもが, and everything else can be deducted from the fundamental grammar. Things like the aspect of present form also surface here and there in Japanese e.g. japanese.stackexchange.com/q/33796/7810. Just the deeper you dig, the harder to rely on English-compatible concepts. Apr 13 at 19:12
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I think you are an advanced learner of Japanese. This will be the reason why your teacher corrected 「日本の文化はだれでも楽しむものじゃないか?」to 「日本の文化はだれもが楽しむものじゃないか?」. It seems to me that even if the former sentence sounds a little awkward, it cannot be said to be grammatically wrong. And the phrases of だれでも楽しめる and だれもが楽しめる are grammatical and both sound quite natural. It will be helpful to cite another similar sentence (3). This is ungrammatical because だれも (without が) is usually followed by a negative predicate like in (4).

  1. 日本の文化は、だれでも楽しむものである。(just a little awkward)
  2. 日本の文化は、だれもが楽しむものである。(natural)
  3. 日本の文化は、だれも楽しむものである。(ungrammatical)
  4. 日本の文化は、だれも楽しむものでない。(grammatical)

In short, in this sentence が is a requirement to express the subject of a sentence.

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    Thank you, this is valuable information but I was also hoping for a general ruleset on when 疑問詞+でも sounds unnatural and needs to be changed to 疑問詞+もが? Is 「だれでも」 the only word this applies to, and with what kinds of verbs/predicates?
    – Hikonyan
    Apr 12 at 14:57
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    Also, I agree that だれも acts as a subject here and so attaching the が makes sense, but then why is が left out of so many other 疑問詞+(で)も constructions that act as a subject?
    – Hikonyan
    Apr 12 at 15:25
  • Though this echoes a bit what @Hikonyan said above, I think a complete answer would explain why the one sounds awkward and the other not so.
    – A.Ellett
    Apr 12 at 16:59

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