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何匹も

healer

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ミミズが何匹もくねくね動き回っている。
The worms are wiggling about.
I have heard that 何人も is the same as 誰も. So I presume 何匹も here means any worm.
However what extra meaning does 何匹も provides?
Can't we simply say ミミズがくねくね動き回っている?
 

Toritoribe

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"何 + counter + も " means "many" in an affirmative sentence (e.g., 何度も "many times", 何人(なんにん)も "many people"), thus, ミミズが何匹も means "many earthworms" there. On the other hand, 何人も you are referring to is なんびとも, not なんにんも. This 人 is not a counter (cf. 何事も "everything", 何者も "everyone").
 

healer

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"何 + counter + も " means "many" in an affirmative sentence
Thanks for reminding me. When it is in a negative sentence, I suppose it means none of those.
The examples of 何度も, 何人も :なんにんも, 何匹も are all in the same situation because the middle kanji's of all these are counters, aren't they?
I'm not too sure about these, 何人も :なんびとも, 何事も, 何者も. Are the middle characters considered counters? They don't seem so. Do these all have the meaning of "everyone" not "many" in an affirmative sentence and "none" in a negative sentece?

何人も you are referring to is なんびと
I have an example sentence in the dictionary I use that has 何人も come with furigana なにびと. I suspect 空 in the same sentence could have the wrong furigana too because I don't find 空 on its own as a noun that means emptiness.
何人も空の胃の腑では愛国者たり得ない。
nanibitomo sora no inofu dewa aikokusha tari enai.
No man can be a patriot on an empty stomach.

何者も "everyone"
Do we say なにものも?
何者 means "who" and "what kind of person" and you said 何者も means "everyone". So is 何人も:なんびとも which means "everyone". What is difference in usage between them?
 

Toritoribe

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When it is in a negative sentence, I suppose it means none of those.
"何 + counter + も" can mean both "not many things do (= a few things do)" and "many things don't do" in a negative sentence. It's not "none of those", anyway.
e.g.
何人(なんにん)も来なかった。
Not many people came./A few people came.
or
Many people didn't come.

To make the meaning clearer, 何人も来なかった。 and 何人も来なかった。 can be used for the first and second meaning, respectively.

The examples of 何度も, 何人も :なんにんも, 何匹も are all in the same situation because the middle kanji's of all these are counters, aren't they?
Yes, that's what I wrote.

I'm not too sure about these, 何人も :なんびとも, 何事も, 何者も. Are the middle characters considered counters? They don't seem so.
I already pointed out "This 人 is not a counter".

Do these all have the meaning of "everyone" not "many" in an affirmative sentence and "none" in a negative sentece?
Yes. 何事も is "everything" in affirmative and "nothing" in negative, though.

I have an example sentence in the dictionary I use that has 何人も come with furigana なにびと.
なんびと is correct. なんと is also valid.

Do we say なにものも?
何者 means "who" and "what kind of person" and you said 何者も means "everyone". So is 何人も:なんびとも which means "everyone". What is difference in usage between them?
何者も and 何人も are the same in meaning. The latter sounds more classical.
 

healer

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To make the meaning clearer, 何人も来なかった。 and 何人も来なかった。 can be used for the first and second meaning, respectively.
I suppose you meant that 何人も来なかった means "Not many people came./A few people came." and 何人も来なかった means "Many people didn't come." I'm not sure how the additional は and が after も in the sentence of 何人(なんにん)も来なかった could make it clearer. In a way "many people" is opposite to "a few people". How could adding a は reinforce the meaning of "not many / a few" while が "many". Is it because は is often used to represent negative meaning? I remember I did learn about this usage before. We use は for "no" to answer a yes/no question while は and が can be used in a question with different emphasis.

Yes, that's what I wrote.
I apologize that sometimes I'm somewhat long-winded just be sure of my understanding.

I already pointed out "This 人 is not a counter".
Were you also suggesting that 何事も and 何者も are of the same type, that is both 事 and 者 are not counters?
If not, as I guess from your response I infer that those with counter mean many and not many while these being not counters mean every and none in affirmative sentence and negative sentence respectively. Please confirm my understanding.

The latter sounds more classical.
What do you mean by "classical"?
 

Toritoribe

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I suppose you meant that 何人も来なかった means "Not many people came./A few people came." and 何人も来なかった means "Many people didn't come."
Exactly.

I'm not sure how the additional は and が after も in the sentence of 何人(なんにん)も来なかった could make it clearer. In a way "many people" is opposite to "a few people". How could adding a は reinforce the meaning of "not many / a few" while が "many".
It's close to the contrastive marker. 何人もは来なかった suggests 何人かは来た. You can also think that は negates 何人も, not 来た.
が is the usual subject marker.

Were you also suggesting that 何事も and 何者も are of the same type, that is both 事 and 者 are not counters?
Right.

What do you mean by "classical"?
As in "classical Japanese", i.e, oldish, written-words-like, stiff, etc.
 

healer

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何人(なんにん)も来なかった。
Not many people came./A few people came.
or
Many people didn't come.
Do you think people could really say the quoted sentence since the meaning is so equivocal? I would expect 何人も来なかった and 何人も来なかった to be used for better communication.

I infer that those with counter mean many and not many while these being not counters mean every and none in affirmative sentence and negative sentence respectively.
Please comment!
 

Toritoribe

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Do you think people could really say the quoted sentence since the meaning is so equivocal? I would expect 何人も来なかった and 何人も来なかった to be used for better communication.
The context is the key, as always.
e.g.
A: 昨日は人が何人も来て忙しかったんじゃないの?
B: 何人も来なかったからそうでもなかったよ。(not many people came)

C: 昨日の試合、どうだった?
D: 来るはずのメンバーが何人も来なくて大変だったよ。(many people(members) didn't come)

Actually, other expressions like そんなに来なかった or あんまり来なかった are more commonly used for "not many people came", so you can think "many people didn't come" is the main use of this expression.

Judging from your replies so far, you seem to be too anxious about the ambiguity of words and expressions. Notice that words are said in a context, and the speaker can choose appropriate words/expressions to convey what they want to say correctly. If they think it could be misunderstood, they would use other words/expressions.

I infer that those with counter mean many and not many while these being not counters mean every and none in affirmative sentence and negative sentence respectively. Please confirm my understanding.
Your understanding is correct, but isn't that exactly what I explained in this thread so far?
 

healer

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Judging from your replies so far, you seem to be too anxious about the ambiguity of words and expressions. Notice that words are said in a context, and the speaker can choose appropriate words/expressions to convey what they want to say correctly. If they think it could be misunderstood, they would use other words/expressions.
I thank you for you kind attention, patience and tolerance.
I understand that people would automatically avoid ambiguity where appropriate by rephrasing. That is why I would like to learn how to reword and I hope to achieve it in some way to some extent wherever possible.
 
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