My question concerns quoi que ce soit, n'importe quoi, n'importe quel/quelle and, finally tout. I would like some tips on how best to know which one to use in a given context.

For example, I have heard the phrase 'You can ask me anything' translated both as:

  • Tu peux me poser n'importe quelle question...
  • Tu peux me poser une question sur quoi que ce soit (although this is I think closer to 'you can ask me a question about anything').

Are these translations acceptable?

As I said before, any advice on how to use these words/phrases is appreciated.

  • On peut certainement traduire comme tu le fais. Si tu veux de l'aide pour discriminer alors, dis toi que "quoi que ce soit correspond plutôt à whatever, tout à everything et finalement anything à n'importe quoi. Mais c'est un peu de la finasserie.
    – MC68020
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 22:58

1 Answer 1

  1. 'You can ask me anything' translated as 'tu peux me poser n'importe quelle question...'

That is not the only possibility; the plain possibility is just as valid, provided the context is right, and in fact it's valid in two contexts.

a/ question asking

Tu peux me demander n'importe quoi. or Tu peut me poser n'importe quelle question.

b/ financial help (for instance)

Tu peux me demander n'importe quoi.

  1. "quoi que ce soit" and "n'importe quoi" mean exactly the same thing.

    • Quoi que ce soit que vous ayez à dire vous ne pourrez pas la convaincre.
    • N'importe quoi que vous ayez à dire vous ne pourrez pas la convaincre.
  2. "Tout" can be used instead of "quoi que ce soit" and "n'importe quoi" but in certain contexts only and it is slightly weaker in its insistence on the universality.

    • Tu peux me poser des questions sur tout, sur n'importe quoi.


  • Il sait tout. different from - Il sait n'importe quoi. (By the way, it is difficult to find a context for this latter sentence, which is nevertheless grammatically correct.)

  • tout dire very different from -dire n'importe quoi

In the first of those two examples the signification is always "to say everything (about a given subject)"; in the second it is totally different: it is "to talk nonsense".

  • @ArmaanKapila You've asked 12 questions without accepting any of them. Please note that there's an option to accept answers on the left hand side if they helped you. Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 13:21

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