How to say "We ate everything" (without the noun expressing what has been eaten, or read, or learnt, etc.) in Japanese?

Here 'everything' can have any meanings, from "Every type of food available", to "All the food given to us", to "All the food that existed". (Thanks istrasci for this precision request)

In my understanding, "everything" is 全部. But from the examples I found, I feel it must be used together with the object it refers to, as for instance: 花の名を全部言った.

On the other hand, machine translation services gives 全部 or 何でも for 'We ate everything' (my dictionary translates the latter as 'anything', 'everything' or everything).

Responses on some interactive language learning website seem to indicate that 全部 and 何でも are not exactly the same [1, 2].

  • What do you mean by "everything"? "Every type of food available"? "All the food given to us"? "All the food that existed"?
    – istrasci
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 1:20
  • 1
    @istrasci Thanks! I made the precision in my post
    – Starckman
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


I don't think there's any particular need to explicitly specify an object when using 全部.. (I'm not a native speaker but) to my ear, just saying 全部食べた (or 全て食べた) sounds perfectly normal/reasonable to express this sort of thing.

I think you're right that 全部 and 何でも are not really the same, though. 全部 basically means "the entirety of (something)". 何でも means more "without regard to what it is", so for example, I would personally translate the following sentences as:

  • 全部食べた -- "(We) ate all of it" / "(We) ate everything (that was there)"
  • 何でも食べた -- "(We) ate anything and everything" / "(We) ate whatever we could find (without caring what it was)"
  • So the difference is quite significant!
    – Starckman
    Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 5:59

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