Request Lesson わけではない & わけがない = Wake dewa nai & Wake ga nai

January 13, 2012 in Grammar


= Mou ishuukan mo kare kara rennraku ga nai no.

= He hasn’t contacted me for over a week now!


= Mada furareta wake dewa nai janai .

= But that doesn’t mean you’ve been dumped yet.


= Minasan akemashite omedetou!!

= Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope the year 2012 will bring you lots of happiness! And I would like to keep working on helping you all improve Japanese on this site, as well as on Twitter and Facebook!

OK, the first lesson of the year was requested by my FB friend, Nur !

He asked me how to use わけではない (= wake dewa nai)

Let’s get started!

The kanji for わけ(=wake) is . It means reason(s)

The literal meaning of わけではない (= wake dewa nai) is

:rrrr: “It is not the reason (why)”

We use it when we want to say


It doesn’t mean that., It’s not like 〜. , It’s not the case that 〜., I don’t mean that〜., That is not why 〜., That is not the reason 〜., It is not really 〜., not to do much〜., not necessarily, not altogether 〜., not particularly 〜.


I know, I know…there are many meanings. :) We’ll look at the usages one at a time.

:mm: How to form :

verb+ わけではない ( = wake de wa nai)


= Taberu wake dewa nai

= Not really eating / not to do much eating


= Nomu wake dewa nai

= not really drinking / not to do much drinking

na-adjective + (=na) + わけではない ( = wake de wa nai)


= Shoujikina wake dewa nai

= not necessarily honest/ not altogether honest


= Shizukana wake dewa nai

= It is not that quiet / I wouldn’t say it’s that quiet

i-adjective + わけではない ( = wake de wa nai)



= Oishii wake dewa nai

= It is not that delicious

noun + というわけではない ( = to iu wake dewa nai)



= bijin toiu wake dewa nai

= (She) is not particularly beautiful

:i: Note : You can also add という (=toiu) / っていう(=tteiu) (→more casual) after an adjective.

:rrrr: おいしいという/っていうわけではない

= Oishii to iu /tteiu wake dewa nai

= It is not so delicious

:rrrr: na-adjective + (=da)


:rrrr: 正直だという/っていうわけではない


=Shoujikida to iu/ tteiu wake dewa nai

= not necessarily honest




= Shizukada toiu/ tteiu wake dewa nai

= It is not that quiet/ I wouldn’t say it’s that quiet

If you want to learn more about という (= toiu) go check 〜という(= toiu) & ということ(=toiukoto) lesson!

:i: Note : The formal form of わけではない(=wake dewa nai) are

:rrrr: わけではないです。(=wake dewa nai desu.)


:rrrr: わけではありません ( =wake dewa arimasen.)

:i: Note : The casual form of わけではない(=wake dewa nai) is

:rrrr: わけじゃ(あ)ない(です) (=wakeja(a) nai (desu).)


わけじゃ(あ)ありません (= wakeja(a) arimasen)

!to right! じゃ(あ)(=ja(a)) is a casual contraction of では(=dewa)

(If you want to learn more, go check りゃあじゃあ (=ryaa& jaa) lesson! )



:w: Now let’s find out how and when to use these expresssions :

We use わけではない(= wakede wa nai) when we deny something “partially” but not “totally”.

!lotsofhearts! 1) It is not always true that 〜. / not altogether 〜. :

Ex. 先生がみんなすべての答えを知っているわけではない

= Sensei ga minna subete no kotae wo shitteiru wake dewa nai.

= Teachers don’t necessarily know all the answers./ It is not always true that all the teachers know the answers.

:u: (more formal)

〜 わけではないです。/ 〜 わけではありません。

= 〜 wake dewa nai desu. / 〜 wake de wa arimasen.

(You might think all the teachers know the answers for everything, but it is not true.)

Ex. マギーはいつも寝ているわけではない

= Maggie wa itsumo nete iru wake dewa nai.

= Maggie is not always sleeping.

(You might think I am always sleeping but) it is not true.

:u: (more formal)

マギーはいつも寝ているわけではないです。/ わけではありません。

= Maggie wa itsumo nete iru wakewake dewa nai desu / wake dewa arimasen

:u: (more casual)

マギーはいつも寝ているわけじゃ(あ)ない(です)。/ わけじゃ(あ)ありません。

= Maggie wa itsumo nete iru wake ja(a)nai (desu). / wakeja(a) arimasen.

Ex. 高い料理がすべて美味しい(という)わけではない

= Takai ryouri ga subete oishii (toiu) wake dewa nai

= All expensive dishes are not altogether delicious.

(You might think all the expensive food are delicious but) it is not true.

:u: (more formal)

高い料理がすべて美味しい(というわけではないです。/ わけではありません。

= Takai ryouri ga subete oishii (toiu) wake dewa naidesu / wake dewa arimasen

:u: (more casual)

高い料理がすべて美味しい(という)わけじゃ(あ)ない(です)/ わけじゃ(あ)ありません。

= Takai ryouri ga subete oishii (toiu) wakeja(a) nai (desu) / wake ja(a) arimasen.

!lotsofhearts! 2) When you deny some expected reason subtly.

It is not because of that,

Ex. 「日本語もうあきらめたの?」

= Nihongo mou akirameta no?

= Have you given up Japanese already?

:rrrr: 「そういうわけじゃないよ。」(male speech)

= Souiu wake ja nai yo.

= That is not the case./ That’s not true.

:rrrr: 「そういうわけじゃないの。」(female speech)

= Souiu wake ja nai no.

= That is not the case./ That’s not true.


Ex. 彼があの人と別れてしまったのはマギーが悪いわけではないから心配しないで!

= Kare ga anohito to wakarete shimatta nowa Maggie ga warui wake dewa nai kara shinpai shinai de!

= He didn’t break up with that person because of you , Maggie. So don’t worry about it.

!lotsofhearts!3) When you want to explain a reason subtly : It is not like~


= Kare wo youshi dake de eranda wake dewa nai.

It is not like I chose him for his appearance.

Ex. マギーのことが嫌いになったわけではないよ

= Maggie no koto ga kirai ni natta wake dewa nai yo.

= It is not like I came to dislike you, Maggie.

:rrrr: :maggie-small: Maggie’s note : Ugh! This is a cliché line that I often get. It’s a perfect phrase (but lame excuse) used to break up with people.

!star! Let’s compare the following two sentences:

1) ABではない

=A wa B dewa nai


2) ABというわけではない

= A wa B toiu wake de wa nai

While 1) means “A is not B” 2) means “A is not necessary B.”/”I wouldn’t say A is totally B” and it doesn’t deny anything completely.

Therefore it sounds more subtle or vague.


Ex. 結婚するなら絶対にお金持ちというわけではない

= Kekkon suru nara zettai ni okanemochi toiu wake dewa nai

= It is not necessarily true that I would only marry a rich man.

Ex. 彼はチャラ男というわけではないが言うことに重みがない。

= Kare wa charao to iu wake dewa nai ga iu koto ni omomi ga nai.

= I wouldn’t say he is that shallow (superficial) but his words lack substance.

Ex. 日本語能力試験1級に受かるのは不可能というわけではないがかなり勉強しないと難しい。

= Nihongo nouryoku shiken ikyuu ni ukaru nowa fukanou toiu wake dewa nai ga kanari benkyou shinai to muzukashii.

= I wouldn’t say passing JLTP 1st grade is impossible, but it is pretty difficult if you don’t study hard.


= Sonnani fukuzatsu na wake dewa nai ga yatara jikan ga kakaru.

= It is not that complicated, but it takes a lot of time.


= Ano futari wa naka ga warui toiu wake dewa nai ga yoku iiarasoi wo shiteiru.

= It is not that (I wouldn’t say) they ( those two) don’t get along but they often argue.


= Kanojo wa sonnani kirei toiu wake dewa nai ga sugoku moteru.

= It is not that (I wouldn’t say) she is that pretty but she is very popular among boys.




= Souyone. Kono watashi ga furareru wake ga nai wa!

= That’s right. There is NO WAY that he could dump a girl like ME!

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Now, some of you are ready to write this question in the comment section.

!to right! Q .マギー先生、 I also heard わけがない (= wake ga nai).  Are they different?


Yes, わけではない (= wake dewa nai) and わけがない(= wake ga nai) are different.



わけがない(= wake ga nai) is used when you totally deny something.


It means There is NO WAY that 〜, it is impossible that 〜, can’t be

Some of you might know the title of a very popular comic book (animation) called,

!yflower! “僕の妹がこんなに可愛いわけがない

= Boku no imouto ga konnani kawaii wake ga nai

= My little sister can’t be this cute.

It is similar to はずがない (= hazu ga nai) and most of the time interchangeable.

!to right! (If you want to learn more about  はず(=hazu) go check this lesson.)

We also say わけない(= wake wa nai) instead of わけない (= wake ga nai) They mean the same but we use わけない (= wake ga nai) more often.

Ex. そんなわけない = そんなわけない

= Sonna wake wa nai = Sonna wake ga nai

= That can’t be true! = That can’t be true!

:w: How to form:

verb + わけがない (= wakega nai)


= dekiru wake ga nai

= It is impossible for someone to do / There is no way that someone can do

:rrrr: こんな難しいこと、私に出来るわけがない

= Konna muzukashii koto watashi ni dekiruwake ganai.

= There is no way for me to do such difficult thing.

i-adjective + わけがない (= wakega nai)

Ex. おいしいわけがない

= Oishii wake ga nai

= There is no way  〜 is delicious

:rrrr: 塩も入れていない料理なんておいしいわけがない

= Shio mo irete inai ryouri nante oishii wake ga nai.

=Food without even salt can’t be delicious.

na-adjective + (=na) + わけがない (= wakega nai)


= Shizukana wake ga nai

= There is no way to be quiet.

:rrrr: 町中のホテルの部屋など静かなわけがない

= Machinaka no hoteru no heya nado shizukana wake ga nai.

= The hotel rooms in the middle of town can’t be quiet.

noun + である(=dearu)/ (=no)+ わけがない (= wakega nai)

Ex. 本物の宝石であるわけがない。・本物の宝石のわけがない

= Honmono no houseki de aru wake ga nai / Honmono no houseki no wake ga nai.

= It can’t be a real/genuine jewel.

Sometimes we add という(= toiu) or っていう(=tteiu) (→more casual) before わけがない (= wake ga nai)

困るわけがない (=komaru wake ga nai)

:rrrr: Ex. 困るというわけがない

= Komaru toiu wake ga nai.

:rrrr:Ex. 困るっていうわけがない

= Komaru tte iu wake ga nai

:i: Note : The formal form of わけがない(=wake ga nai) is

:rrrr: わけがないです(=wake ga nai desu)


:rrrr: わけがありません(= wake ga arimasen.)

Ex. 子供相手のサッカーで負けるわけがない

= Kodomo aite no sakka de makeru wake ga nai.

= There is no way we can lose a soccer game to children.

Ex. 勉強も全然しないで試験に受かるわけがない

= Benkou mo zenzen shinai de shiken ni ukaru wake ga nai.

= There is no way you can pass an exam without studying at all.

Ex. 犬のくせに日本語が教えられるわけがない。

= Inu no kuse ni nihongo ga oshierareru wake ga nai.

= It is impossible for a dog to teach Japanese.

Ex. あなたの様なかわいい子がふられるわけがない

= Anata no you na kawaii ko ga furareru wake ga nai.

= There is no way a cute girl like you can get dumped.

Ex. あんなに仲のいい二人が離婚するわけがない

= Annani naka no ii futari ga rikon suru wake ga nai.

= It is unthinkable that those two would get divorced.  They are so close to each other.

Ex. マギーが人を裏切るわけがない

= Maggie ga hito wo uragiru wake ga nai.

= There is no way that Maggie would betray anyone.

Ex. あの川の水を飲んでも安全なわけがない

= Ano kawa no mizu wo nondemo anzenna wake ga nai.

= How could it be safe to drink the water from that river?

Ex. あんなかっこいい人がマギーの彼であるわけがない

= Anna kakkoii hito ga Maggie no kare de aru wake ga nai.

= It is impossible for Maggie to have a boyfriend that cool.

Ex. 私がピアノを弾くのが上手なわけがない

= Watashi ga piano wo hiku no ga jouzuna wake ga nai.

= There is no way that I could be good at playing the piano.

Ex. 彼が本当は優しい人なんていうわけがない

= Kare ga hontou wa yasashii hito nante iu wake ga nai.

= There is no way that he is actually a nice person.

noun + なんていう (= nanteiu) : emphasizing )

We often skip the particle in conversation

わけがない(=wake ga nai)→わけない(= wakenai)

Ex. 怖いわけ(が)ない

= Kowai wake (ga)nai

= Can’t be scary / There is no way that (subject) is scared

Ex. 簡単なわけ(が)ない

= Kantanna wake (ga) nai

= It can’t be easy

Ex. 無視するわけ(が)ない

= Mushi suru wake (ga) nai

= There is no way that (subject) ignored/ I will ignore

Ex. 負けるわけ(が)ない

= Makeru wake (ga) nai

= There is no way to lose

You can use it when you strongly talk back.

Ex.「こんな難しい問題、解けるわけ(が)ないだろ!」(male speech)

= Konna muzukashii mondai tokeru wake (ga)  nai daro!

= There is no way to solve this difficult problem.

Ex.「そんなこと私が 知るわけ(が)ないじゃない!」(female speech)

= Sonna koto watashi ga shiru wake (ga) nai janai!

= How would I know such a thing!


= Kyou hima?

= Are you free today?



= Himana wake (ga) nai desho!

= Are you kidding me? (Of course I am not!)


= Kore iru?

= Do you want this?


「いるわけ(が)ないだろ!」(male speech)

= Iru wake (ga) nai daro!

= Why would I want that! / No way!



= Watashi no koto kirai?

= You don’t like me?


「嫌いなわけ(が)ないだろ!」(male speech)

= Kiraina wake (ga) nai daro!

= Of course not! / Of course I like you! (There is no way to dislike you!)

Note : In colloquial Japanese, we say わきゃない (= wakyanai) instead of saying わけがない(=wake ga nai) or わけはない (=wake wa nai)

Ex. 「あれ?マギー先生、今からデート? わきゃないな…」

=Are? Maggie Sensei imakara deito? Na wakyanai na…

= Oh, Are you going out on a date now, Maggie Sensei? No way….(That is impossible) )

:rrrr: わきゃない(=na wakyanai)  is a casual way to say そんわけ(が)ない(= sonna wake (ga) nai )

Actually there are more idioms using = わけ (= wake) such as 訳にはいかない (= wake niwa ikanai) but we’ll have to study those some other time…


マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Nagai aida ressun wo tsukuranakatta no wa namakete ita wake dewa arimasen.

= The reason why I haven’t made a lesson in such a long time is not because I am lazy.



= Watashi ga namakeru wake ga arimasen yone!

= You don’t think I am lazy, right? (There is no way I am lazy)

:u: あれ?= Are? = Ooops! !ase!