2

The sentence

学生でも子供でもない

translates to

[It is] neither a student nor a child.

Initial Questions:

  1. First, just confirming: the use of でも here is just で + も, and has nothing to do with with the conjunctive でも, correct?
  2. If we instead wrote the sentence as

学生子供ではない

would the sentence still retain its original meaning? (Here I replaced the two で's with a では, placed right before ない, as we usually see the negative copula).

Main Question: Is the main reason that the original sentence splits up the で's as follows:

学生子供ではない

..is that the copula is actually just the で particle + ある (or the more archaic ござる, which also means "to be")? If so, it would make sense why で can be split from ある (in its ない form) form and placed after 学生 and 子供 (the the two nouns that "It" is not "within the bounds" of).

1 Answer 1

2

学生も子供もではない

That is not correct. In Japanese the tense/negation comes always in the end. You need to say the copula both times to make it clear that you are negating the state of being of both things.

That is why: 朝ご飯を食べて学校に行くand 朝ご飯を食べて学校に行った have different meanings even though it's just the TE FORM. "will eat" and "ate".

学生でも子供でもない

Being also a student, being also a child, is not. You're doing just like the previous sentence: negating/applying tense in the end.

  学生で子供ではない

That means one is a student and not a child. Not really excluding anything.

And yes, である is copulaで+ある which means literally exist in the condition of being X.

First, just confirming: the use of でも here is just で + も, and has nothing to do with with the conjunctive でも, correct?

Correct.

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  • 1
    Sorry for the misunderstanding. But, yes. で is the copula. ganbarouze.blogspot.com/2014/05/… This source is in Portuguese but explains it well. the origin is 山なり to be a mountain. なり is the copula. 連用形 of なり is に. It fused with て particle and あり becoming 山にてあり. にて became で in spoken language (copula+te form) and あり became ある = 山である (exist in the condition of being X) = だ. Negation is just by applying the 未然形 of ある which is ない in the end after the も inclusive particle = 学生でも子供でもない.
    – Manab
    Dec 3, 2022 at 22:04
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    Therefore= Being also a student, being also a child, is not.
    – Manab
    Dec 3, 2022 at 22:10
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    I don't want to be rude, but she is clearly wrong and being really forceful about the meaning. The term copula comes from Latin and means "to unite two things". It does not mean "to be in the boundaries of something" or anything like that. It's simply A being B. The で in the である is not the particle で. It's the Te from of the copula なり aka にて. "Exist in the condition of being X" is the closest literal translation of である you'll find. 学生も子供もではない is not grammatical because it lacks the copula.
    – Manab
    Dec 4, 2022 at 1:41
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    And the origin of である I told you comes from classical Japanese which she probably doesn't know. She was probably trying to come up with explanations that are not "just memorize this and accept that it means X" since it's the whole premise of channel.
    – Manab
    Dec 4, 2022 at 1:58
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    I'm not sure I agree that 学生も子供もではない lacks the copula. It is clearly present in the ではない at the end. However, I think that while it may be (technically) grammatical it still semantically does not mean the same thing. 学生でも子供でもはない = "Is not a student and is also not a child" / "is neither student nor child"; 学生も子供もではない = "is not both a student and a child" (may be one or the other, but just not both together). Though I'm not sure if that's a very natural way to say that, even if that is what you mean...
    – Foogod
    Dec 4, 2022 at 20:47

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