Grammar Info

N1 Lesson 4: 16/17


Cannot, There is no way one can, Nothing one can do, Cannot possibly not by any means, Cannot do no matter how hard one tries, Nothing will come out, It is meaningless to


どうにこうに) + (Negative)Verb[できる]
どうにこうに) + Verb[ます]+ ようがない


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About どうにも

どうにも is an expression that is often paired with negative structures such as できない 'cannot', ならない 'won't happen', or ようがない 'no way'. It is a combination of the adverb どう 'how', the case marking particle に, and the adverbial particle も, and may be translated as 'even however (A), still not (B)'. The whole structure itself is usually interpreted simply as 'it is meaningless to (A)', 'there's nothing one can do about (A)', or nothing will come of (A)'.
どうにも will primarily be seen either at the start or end of sentences, after or before going on to explain a situation which seems impossible due to some specific reason.
  • 今更(いまさら)頑張(がんば)ってもどうにもならないよ。
    Even if you try your best now, nothing will come out of it.
  • そんなこと(きゅう)()われても、どうにもできないよ。
    Nothing could be done, even if you suddenly tell me that.
  • 自分(じぶん)()むだけじゃどうにも理解(りかい)できないので、先生(せんせい)()くことにした。
    I couldn't manage to understand it just by reading it myself, so I decided to ask my teacher.
This grammar pattern emphasizes the speaker's feelings of resignation, frustration, or regret in relation to something that is out of their control. Due to this, it often highlights the actions of someone other than the speaker.
Occasionally, どうにも is further emphasized by the addition of こうにも.
  • そんなことを()われてもどうにもこうにもなりません。
    No matter what you say, nothing will come out of it.
  • 説明(せつめい)してあげたいけど、どうにもこうにも説明(せつめい)できない。
    I would love to explain it for you, but there is no way I can explain it.




    She doesn't listen to what people say, so even if you give her advice, nothing will come out of it.


    I got trapped in a situation about which nothing could be done so I have no choice but to ask for help.


    Chat with a friend: 'Even if you regret it, nothing can be done now.'

    都心(としん) ()かう電車(でんしゃ)(なか)(ひと)いっぱい。どうにも身動(みうご)きしようがない。」

    'Trains heading downtown are packed with people. There is no way for one to move.'


    After repairing a friend's bike: 'I did all I could, but I couldn't repair Takeda's bike no matter what.'

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