Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 3: 3/23


Might, Could be, Capable of, Possible


Verb[ます+ かねない
Noun + + ​​かねない


  • Register


  • 使用域


About かねない

The negative form of the る-Verb ()ねる 'to spread across' (usually 2 different activities or thought processes) is a grammar pattern that indicates a possibility of (A) happening, especially when it is something that the speaker themselves cannot control. ()ねない is often translated as 'might (A)', 'capable of (A)', or '(A) is a possibility'.
This structure will be seen connected to the ます-stem of verbs, or after nouns followed by に. Both the kanji and non-kanji forms may be used.
  • それは(いのち)()としかねない感染症(かんせんしょう)らしい。
    Apparently that is an infectious disease that could lead to death.
  • 地震(じしん)(あと)には津波(つなみ)()こりかねないので、出来(でき)るだけ(はや)避難(ひなん)しましょう。
    A tsunami might follow an earthquake so try to evacuate as soon as possible.
  • ベッドでの喫煙(きつえん)火災(かさい)になりかねないのでご遠慮(えんりょ)ください。
    Please refrain from smoking on the bed as it might cause a fire.
  • 仕事(しこと)のやりすぎは、(うつ)原因(げんいん)になりかねない
    Working too much could be a cause of depression.
It is quite common to see ()ねない come after conditional phrases that include と, ば, たら, でも, and similar structures. This indicates that 'if (A) were to happen, (B) may also occur'.
  • 操作(そうさ)間違(まちが)えれば怪我人(けがにん)()かねない
    If you operate it wrong, it could cause injuries.
  • どんなに注意(ちゅうい)をしていても、事故(じこ)()こりかねない
    No matter how careful you are, accidents might happen.
Caution - While this grammar structure is most often used to highlight negative outcomes, it may also be used to indicate or desire or wish sarcastically.
  • ちゃんと毎日(まいにち)勉強(べんきょう)すれば、来週(らいしゅう)のテストは合格(ごうかく)できかねない
    If I study everyday, I might do well on the test next week.
Fun-fact - As ()ねる means 'to spread across', in the negative, this expression can be thought of as similar to 'to not be a stretch' in English. It just indicates the action of (A) would not be a stretch of the ability or capacity of whoever or whatever is being discussed.
  • 彼女(かのじょ)はどんな病気(びょうき)でも(なお)かねない
    It wouldn't be a stretch to say that she can cure any disease.




    Expired food could be a cause of diarrhea.


    If his dog bites you, it is capable of causing serious injury.


    If you leave it at that, it might cause conflict.


    That firm is quite capable of doing anything to reach their goals without any regard to other people.


    If those documents are disclosed, it might cause a scandal, so it is necessary to get rid of them.

  • Get more example sentences!

    Premium users get access to 12 example sentences on all Grammar Points.

Self-Study Sentences

Study your own way!

Add sentences and study them alongside Bunpro sentences.

かねない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (6 in total)

  • jakedesu2010


    It appears that this grammar structure can come after a noun, however none of the example sentences show this structure, nor could I find any examples online. Does anyone have any good examples?

  • sergiop


    Not sure if you were referring to the を兼ねて grammar point referred above or the one with the negative. But if it is the first case, maybe the reason you were not able to find examples online is because the がてら grammar point that has the same meaning is used instead of it. See the highlight part in the Handbook:

  • sergiop


    In classical Japanese, what I found was a correspondence to あわせて or と同時に、

Got questions about かねない? Join us to discuss, ask, and learn together!

Join the Discussion