How to use 〜じゃない(= janai) & 〜んじゃない(=~ njanai)

犬がアカデミー賞を取ったっていいじゃない?」

= Inu ga akademiishou wo tottatte iinjanai?

= It’s perfectly OK if a dog wins an Academy award, right?

Hi, everyone!

Today’s lesson is for NecroMadMat, PukiPuki and Billy who asked me how to use じゃない(=janai) andじゃない(=njanai)

It is one of the suffixes that you see/hear all the time, and I bet you learned it when you just started to learn Japanese.

You would think it’s simple, but I found out that many people actually get confused. You can see that by the length of this lesson that there is a lot to learn.

FYI there are not many colors that I can use so this is about as far as I can go with the changes. I hope you all understand.)

It’s a long lesson, so be sure to come back and review again and again!

!star! 〜じゃない(=janai)

:qq: じゃない(=janai) is a casual form of ではない(=dewa nai).

Let’s start with something really basic.

!Anapple! How to form a negative sentence with じゃない(=janai):

:rrrr: noun, pronoun + じゃない(=janai)

*じゃない= watashi janai= not me

*マギーじゃない= Maggie janai = not Maggie

*これじゃない= kore janai = not this

*この本じゃない= kono hon janai = not this book

:rrrr:na-adjective plain form →delete (=na) and add じゃない(=janai)

*元気じゃない= genki janai = not cheerful, not energetic, not healthy

*好きじゃない= suki janai = not to like

:rrrr: Past tense :〜じゃなかった(= ~ janakatta) (+ more polite : です(=desu))

*マギーじゃなかった。= Maggie janakatta. = not Maggie

*元気じゃなかった。= Genki janakatta  = not cheerful, energetic, healthy

 

★How to  use じゃない(=janai)  in a negative sentence.

●マギーは猫ではない。

= Maggie wa neko  de wa nai.

= Maggie is not a cat.

マギーは猫じゃない

= Maggie wa neko janai.

= Maggie is not a cat.

*******

(more polite)

マギーは猫ではないです。

= Maggie wa neko de wa nai desu.

マギーは猫じゃないです。

= Maggi wa neko janai desu.

or (the same meaning.)

マギーは猫ではありません。

= Maggie wa neko de wa arimasen.

マギーは猫じゃありません。

= Maggie wa neko ja arimasen.

!onpu! So you can use じゃない(=janai) in a simple negative sentence.

Ex.あそこのビーチはそんなにきれいじゃなかった

= Asoko no biichi wa sonnani kirei ja nakatta.

= That beach was not that clean (or beautiful).

Ex. 宣伝で見た薬はこれじゃなかったよ。

= Senden de mita kusuri wa kore janakatta yo.

= The medicine I saw on the commercial is not this one.

Ex. 昔はあんな人じゃなかったのに..

= Mukashi wa anna hito janakatta noni.

= He/She was not that kind of person before….

 

Ex. 今日はあんまり元気じゃない

= Kyou wa annmari genki janai.

= I don’t feel so good today. (I am not in  good sprits today.)

Ex. 私は英語が上手じゃないから海外に行きたくない。

= Watashi eigo ga jouzu janai kara kaigai ni ikitaku nai.

= I am not good at English so I don’t want to go abroad.

Ex. そうじゃないと思います。

= Sou janai to omoimasu.

= I don’t think so.

Ex. つけまつげをすると私じゃないみたいに見える。

= Tsukematsuge wo suru to watashi janai mitai ni mieru.

= I look different (←I don’t look like myself) when I wear fake eyelashes.

Note : Be careful. You can’t make a negative form of i-adjective with ではない(=dewa nai) and じゃない(=janai).

  :l: wrong! かわいいじゃない (=Kawaii janai) →かわいくない(=kawaikunai)

 :l:  wrong ! 動くじゃない (=ugoku janai) →動かない(=ugokanai)

BUT you can make a positive sentences with it! Keep reading! I will explain that form a little later in the lesson.

 

***************

To use じゃない(=janai)  in a negative question. ”Isn’t it”, “Aren’t they”, etc.

 

*(noun/ pronoun + じゃない(=janai) / na-adjective : delete and add じゃない(=janai))

ではありませんか?

=~ de wa arimasenka?

 

~じゃありませんか?

~ ~ jaarimasenka?

or
~ではないですか?

= ~ de wa nai desu ka?

じゃないですか?

= ~ janai desu ka?

(more casual)

じゃない?
= ~janai?

これは、彼の辞書ではありませんか?

= Kore wa kare no jisho de wa arimasenka?

= Isn’t this his dictionary?

これは、彼の辞書じゃありませんか?

= Kore wa, kare no jisho jaarimasen ka?

or

これは、彼の辞書ではないですか?

= Kore wa, kare no jisho dewa nai desu ka?


これは、彼の辞書じゃないですか?
= Kore wa, kare no jisho janai desu ka?

In casual conversation we omit particles and ですか(=desuka)?

これ、彼の辞書じゃない

= Kore, kare no jisho janai?

= Isn’t this his dictionary?

*********

Ex. すみません。マギー先生じゃないですか?

= Sumimasen. Maggie sensei janai desuka?

= Excuse me, but aren’t you Maggie Sensei?

Ex. あれ、マギーじゃない

= Are Maggie janai?

= Isn’t that Maggie?

Ex. 今日は、あんまり元気じゃないね。どうしたの?

= Kyou wa, anmari genki janai ne. Doushitano?

= You are not so cheerful today. What’s wrong?

Ex.お邪魔じゃないですか?

= Ojama janai desu ka?

= Am I interrupting?

****************************

★To use じゃない(=janai)  in a positive meaning.

When you see / hearじゃない(=janai) in a sentence, you may automatically think it’s a negative sentence, but we often use it in affirmative sentences or tag questions to make a point, add remarks, express opinions, or show emotions such surprise, shock, joy, anger, etc.

!Anapple! How to form a positive sentence with じゃない(=janai):

:rrrr: noun, pronoun + じゃない(=janai)(+ですか(=desuka))

*マギーじゃない(ですか)!

= Maggie janai(desuka)

= Oh, there’s/that’s Maggie! / Hey, you are Maggie!

*野球じゃない(すか)!

= Yakyuu janai (desuka)!

= Oh, it’s baseball!

:rrrr: verb plain form + じゃない(=janai)(+ですか(=desuka))

*似合うじゃない(ですか)!

= niau janai(desuka)!

= It looks good on you!

*歌えるじゃない(ですか)!

= Utaeru janai (desuka)!

= You can sing!You sing very well!

:rrrr: na-adjective : delete (=na) and add じゃない(=janai)(+ですか(=desuka))

* きれいじゃない(ですか)!

= Kirei janai (desuka))

= Someone/something is beautiful! /Oh that’s beautiful!

:rrrr: i-adjective plain form + じゃない(=janai)(+ですか(=desuka))

*かわいいじゃない(ですか)!

=Kawaii janai (desuka)!

= Cute, isn’t it? / Wow! You are cute!

 

:i: Note : As I mentioned above, you can’t make a negative form of i-adjectives or verbs with じゃない(=janai) but if they are not used in a negative sentence, you can make a positive form of i-adjetives or verbs with じゃない(=janai) or ではない(=dewa nai ). So while it looks to be grammatically negative, it’s actually conversationally positive.

:l: Finishing the sentence with じゃない(=janai) is for female speech.

1)  When you give someone a compliment. :

Ex. その服、いいではないですか。

= Sono fuku, iidewa nai desuka.

= (Wow!) I like your clothes. (Nice clothes!!)


 

Ex. その服、いいじゃないですか。(neutral = both men and women can use it.)
= Sono fuku, ii janai desu ka.

:rrrr: Note: See it doesn’t mean, “Your clothes are not nice.”

If you want to say that, you have to say

:rrrr: その服、よくないじゃない(female speech)

= Sono fuku, yokunai janai.

(more casual)

その服、いいじゃない(female speech)

= Sono fuku, ii janai.

 

:i: Note:

じゃないですか(=janaidesuka) is neutral and both men and women can use it. But finishing the sentence with じゃない(=janai) may give a feminine impression. And if you want to make yourself sound more “macho,” just add (=ka).

:rrrr: その服、いいじゃないか。(male speech)

= Sono fuku, ii janai ka.

It sounds a bit rough so be careful who you use with.

Ex. すごいじゃないですか!

= Sugoi janai desuka!

= Wow! That’s great, isn’t it?

Ex. 彼、かっこいいじゃない(female speech)

= Kare, kakkoii janai!

=Oh, he’s cute!

Ex. マギーっていつもお洒落しているじゃない (female speech)

= Maggie tte itsumo oshare shiteiru janai?

= You always dress up, don’t you, Maggie

2) When you complain, accuse someone.

Ex. ひどいじゃないか!(male speech)

= Hidoi janai ka!

= What you did (said) was horrible!

 

Ex. だから、言ったじゃない(female speech)

= Dakara, itta janai!

= I told you so!

Ex. みんな、お前のせいじゃないか!( male speech, rough)

= Minna, omae no sei janai ka!

= It’s all your fault!

Ex. お母さんだっていつもテレビを夜遅くまでみてるじゃない! (female speech or children )

= Okaasan datte itsumo terebi wo yoru osoku made miteru janai.

= You always watch TV late at night, too, Mom!

3) When you suggest your idea asking for the listener’s agreement or make your point .

Ex. このクラスで一番かわいいのは私じゃない(female speech)

= Kono kurasu de ichiban kawaii no wa watashi janai?

= Aren’t I the cutest girl in this class?

Ex.お金がある人が行けばいいじゃないですか。

= Okane ga aru hito ga ikeba ii janai desuka.

Only people who have money should go! (Not a poor person like me!)

Ex. 一緒にがんばろうじゃないか!(male speech)

= Issho ni ganbarou janai ka!

= Why don’t we do our best together.

 

****************************
!star! じゃない= ~ n janai

!ichigo!じゃない(=n janai) is a casual form of のではない(=no dewa nai).

 

!Anapple! How to form :

 

verb (plain form) + のではない(~ no dewa nai)

:rrrr:  verb (plain form ) + じゃない(=njanai)

 

*する= suru = to do

:rrrr: するのではない(=suru no dewa nai) not doing

:rrrr: するじゃない(=surun janai)

past (perfect) tense :

*した(=shita) did, have done

:rrrr: したじゃない(=shitan janai)

*食べる= taberu = to eat

:rrrr: 食べるのではない(=taberu no dewa nai)  not eating

:rrrr: 食べるじゃない(=taberun janai)

past (perfect) tense :

*食べた (=tabeta) ate, have eaten

:rrrr: 食べたじゃない(=tabetan janai)

i-adjective (plain form ) + のではない(=no de wa nai)

:rrrr: (casual contraction ) んじゃない(=njanai)

*おかしい (= okashii ) funny, strange

 

:rrrr: おかしいのではない(=okashii no dewa nai) not strange, not funny

 

:rrrr: おかしいじゃない(=okashiin  janai)

 

past tense

*おかしかった(=okashikatta) was/ were strange, funny

 

:rrrr: おかしかったじゃない(=okashikattan janai)

 

na-adjective (plain form )なのではない(=nano dewa nai)

:rrrr: na-adjective (plain form) + じゃない(=nan janai)

 

*きれい(=kirei) beautiful

:rrrr: きれいなのではない(= kirei nano de wa nai) not beautiful, pretty, clean

:rrrr: きれいなじゃない(= kireinan janai) = it is not beautiful, pretty, clean

past  tense

*きれいだった(=kireidatta) = was/were beautiful

:rrrr: きれいだったじゃない (= kireidattan janai)  was/were not beautiful

Note : You may wonder what is the difference between きれいではない (= kirei dewa nai ) and きれいなのではない(=kirei nano dewa nai) They both means “not beautiful” but きれいなのではない(=kirei nano de wa nai) has more explanatory tone.

We can say the same thing with きれいじゃない(=kireijanai) and きれいなじゃない(=kireinan janai)

きれいなじゃない(=kireinan janai) has more explanatory tone and sounds a bit stronger than きれいじゃない(=kirei janai)

noun / pronouns + じゃない(=nanjanai)

 

*= inu = a dog

:rrrr:犬なのではない= Inu nano dewa nai = not a dog

:rrrr:犬なじゃない= inu nanjanai

past tense :

*犬だった= inu datta = was/were a dog(s)

:rrrr:犬だったじゃない= inu dattan janai = was/were not a dog(s)

 

********

Now we see how/when to use じゃない(=njanai)

 

To use じゃない(=njanai) in a negative sentence.

1) When you explain why something doesn’t work, someone doesn’t do something:

マギー先生はこの学校で教えているのではない

= Maggie Sensei wa kono gakkou de oshite iru no dewa nai.

= Maggie Sensei is not teaching at this school.


マギー先生はこの学校で教えているのじゃない

= Maggie Sensei wa kono gakkou de oshite iru no janai.

(more casual)

マギー先生はこの学校で教えているじゃない

= Maggie Sensei wa kono gakkou de oshite irun janai.

マギー先生はこの学校で教えているのではありません。

= Maggie Sensei wa kono gakkou de oshite iru no dewa arimasen.

= Maggie Sensei is not teaching at this school.

マギー先生はこの学校で教えているじゃありません。

= Maggie Sensei wa kono gakkou de oshite irun ja arimasen.

Ex. 誰かがやってくれるじゃない。君自身がそれをやるんだ。

= Darekaga yatte kurerunjanai. Kimijishin ga sore wo yarunda.

= Nobody does it for you. You have to do it yourself.

Ex. あなたのこと嫌いなじゃない。

= Anata no koto kirainan janai.

= I don’t hate you!

Ex. 出来ないじゃない。やらないだけだ。

= Dekinain janai. Yaranai dakeda.

= It doesn’t mean I can’t do it. I just don’t do it. That’s all.

 

2) When you give someone an order or suggestion.

Ex. そうやるんじゃないよ、こうだよ!

= Souyarun janaiyo. Kou dayo!

= Don’t do it that way. Do it this way!

Ex. 風邪ひくからこんなところで寝るんじゃないよ!(tough speech)

= Kaze hikukara konna tokoro de nerun janai yo.

= Don’t sleep here or you will catch cold.

Ex. 口答えをするんじゃない(male speech, rough)

= Kuchigotae wo surun janai!

= Don’t talk back!

Ex. 負けるじゃない(tough speech)

= Makerun janai!

= Hang in there!


To use じゃない(=njanai)  in an affirmative sentence.

1) When you talk about probability. Probably…/When you express your opinion, I think…/ When you make your point

Ex. 今日雨が降るじゃないかと思ったけれども降らなかった。

= Kyou, amega furun janai ka to omotta keredomo furanakatta.

= I thought it might rain today, but it didn’t rain.

Ex. マギーはもう寝たじゃない

= Maggie wa mou netan janai?

= Maggie probably went to bed  already. / I think Maggie is already sleeping.

Ex. もうすぐ春がくるじゃないかな。

= Mousugu haru ga kurun janai kana.

= I think spring is coming soon.

Ex. マギーは彼のこと好きなじゃないかな

= Maggie wa kare no koto sukinan janai kana.

= I think Maggie probably likes him.

Ex. 先生の言っていることは厳し過ぎるじゃないかと思う。

= Sensei no itte iru koto wa kibishisugirun janai kato omou.

= I think what the teacher is saying is too strict.

Ex. あの店はつぶれたじゃないかと誰かが言っていたよ。

= Ano mise wa tsuburetan janai kato darekaga itte itayo.

= Someone told me  that the restaurant might be out of business.

Ex. マギー先生のサイトは1年ももたないじゃないかと思っていた。

= Maggie sensei no saito wa ichinen mo motanain janai kato omotte ita.

= I thought Maggie Sensei’s site wouldn’t last even a year.

Ex. 準備は明日やったらいいじゃないですか?

= Junbi wa ashita yattara iin janai desuka?

= I think we (or you) should do the preparation tomorrow.

Why don’t we (or you) do the preparation tomorrow?

Ex. 彼の言っていることは違うじゃないかなと思うようになった。

= Kare no itte iru koto wa chigaun janai kana to omou you ni natta.

= I started to think that what he was saying was wrong.

3) When you question something.

Ex. この文、おかしいじゃない

= Kono bun, okashiin janai?

= Isn’t this sentence strange? (I think this sentence is strange. What do you think?)

 

Ex. そんなことを言うなんてどうかしているじゃない

= Sonna koto wo iu nante doukashiteirun janai?

= What is wrong with you saying such a thing? (I think there is something wrong with you.)

****************************

 

!candy! じゃない(=iijanai) VS じゃない(=iinjanai)

I know the difference is just one letter (=n), but it gives a difference.

While じゃない(=janai) is usually used when you simply express an opinion showing emotion, じゃない(=njanai) is more like a tag question. You are expressing your opinion and at the same time you are asking the listener’s opinion or agreement. So it is used in a question form.

There is more subtle difference. Let’s  compare the following sentences to see the difference.

 

a) その髪型いいじゃない(female speech/ casual)

= Sono kamigata ii janai.

I like your hairdo! / Oh, nice hairdo!!

b) その髪型いいじゃない(casual)

= Sono kamigata iin janai?

Your hairdo is not bad.

Note : They both can be used when you compliment others. But a) sounds more enthusiastic.

*****

c) 彼、若いじゃない (female speech)

= Kare, wakai janai.

= Wow, he is young. (I’m surprised.)

d) 彼、若いじゃない

= Kare wakain janai?

= He is young, isn’t he?

Note : If you really think he is young, use  c). If you question whether or not he is young and want to confirm use  d)

**********
e) これおいしいじゃないですか。

= Kore oishii janai desuka.

= Wow, this is delicious. (I’m surprised.)

f) これおいしいじゃない(less formal than e)

= Kore oishiin janai?

= Isn’t this delicious?

Note : The same as a) and b).   e) sounds more enthusiastic.  But actually many young people tend to use the f) form when they express their opinion to avoid offering straight reaction.


**********
g) そんなことどうでもいいじゃないか。(male speech, rough.)

= Sonna koto doudemo ii janai ka.

= Who cares about such a thing!

h) そんなことどうでもいいじゃない

= Sonna koto doudemo iin janai?

= Who care about such a thing, right?

Note : g) shows more emotion.  h) gives the impression that you are seeing things more objectively.

*******

i) よかったじゃない(female speech)

= Yokatta janai.

= Oh that’s great! / I’m happy for you!

j) よかったじゃない

= Yokattan janai?

= I think it turned out great.  Don’t you think so?, It’s great, isn’t it?

Note : When you compare these two, i) sounds more sincere.  j) is more objective and it sounds a bit distant.

 

**********

Another confusing thing is negative tag questions.
They are tricky because they look like double negative sentences but they’re not.

 

Ex. Exileの新曲、悪くないじゃない(female speech)

= Ekuzairu no shinkyoku, waruku nain janai?

= Exile’s new song is not bad, huh?

Ex. 本当はマギーは日本語を話せないじゃないんですか?

= Hontou wa Maggie wa nihongo ga hanasenain janain desu ka?

= Maybe Maggie can’t really speak Japanese, can she?

Ex. そんなことは言わなくてもいいじゃないの?

= Sonna koto wa iwanakute mo iin janai no?

= You don’t need to say such a thing, do you?

Ex. あいつ、自分に何が起きているかわからないじゃないのか?(male speech, rough)

= Aitsu jibun ni nani ga okite iru ka wakaranain janai no ka?

= Maybe he doesn’t understand what is happening to him, does he?

Ex. 今日、加藤さんは来ないじゃないでしょうか?

= Kyou, Kato san wa konain janai deshouka?

= I think Kato-san is not coming today. Don’t you think so?

Ex. マギーは今、家にいないじゃない

= Maggie wa ima, ie ni inain janai?

= I think Maggie is not home. Don’t you think so?

******************************

OK you can relax from here. !happyface!

Here are some extra notes on じゃない(=janai)

 

:n: The  variation of じゃない(=janai)

 

!onpu! じゃねえ(=janee)

じゃねえ(=janee) is a rough male suffix.

 

じゃない(=janai) →じゃねえ(=janee) (we also spell it as じゃねー or じゃね〜

じゃない(=njanai) →じゃねえ(=njanee)

Ex. そうじゃないよ!

= Sou dewa nai

= That is not right. That is not what I said. That is not how you do it.


Ex. そうじゃねえよ! (male/ rough)

= Soujanee yo.

Ex. あんなやつ好きじゃない

= Annna yatsu suki janaiyo

= I don’t like that chick.

:rrrr: あんなやつ好きじゃねえよ。(rough)

= Anna yatsu sukija neeneyo.

Ex. なかなかやるじゃないか。(male)

= Nakanaka yaru janai ka.

= You do pretty good. (You do better than I had expected./I’m impressed!)

:rrrr: なかなかやるじゃねえか。(male, rough)

= Nakanaka yarujaneeka.

Ex. あいつも行きたかったじゃないか?(male, rough)

= Aitsu mo ikitakattanjanaika?

= He wanted to go, too, didn’t he?

:rrrr: あいつも行きたかったじゃねえのか?(male, more rough)

= Aitsumo ikitakattanja nee no ka?

Ex. そんなじゃねえよ。

= Sonnanja neeyo.

= That’s not right. (What you said is wrong.) denying what the other has just said.

!onpu! じゃん(=jan)

It’s a casual abbreviation of じゃない(=janai) and it is used to emphasize your speech.

It is considered to be a dialect in Kanto  area but it is pretty common among other areas.

It’s mainly used among young people.

It is cliche that Kansai comedian mimic Tokyo area people using this casual suffix.

Ex. いいじゃない(casual)

= Ii janai.

= I think it’s good!  / Nice! / Great! / Sounds good! / Looks good!/ Don’t worry!


いいじゃん (really casual)

= iijan

Ex. 彼、イケてるじゃない(female speech)

= Kare, iketerujanai!

= He is cool, isn’t he?

(* イケてる= Iketeru = slang = cool, cute, great)


Ex. 彼、イケてるじゃん

= Kare iketerujan!

Ex. そう言ったのはマギーじゃん

= Souitta no wa Maggie jan!

= You are the one who said that, Maggie!

Ex. そんなこと知ってるじゃん

= Sonna koto shitterujan!

=I already know that!

 


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

今からレッドカーペットを歩く練習があるのにまた長いレッスンになっちゃったじゃない

= Ima kara reddo kaapetto wo aruku  rennshuu ga aru noni mata nagai ressun ni nacchatta janai!

= It ended up being another long lesson, but now I have to go practice walking the red carpet!

 

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92 Comments

  1. You wrote
    ●これ、彼の辞書じゃない?

    = Kore, kare no jisho janai?

    = Isn’t this his dictionary?

    But i think it can also mean:
    “it’s not his dictionary?” (Questioning….Maybe he stole it).

    My question is how to distinguish or how do we know that the sentence is affirmative/negative meaning if “janai ka” can act affirmative and negative as well? Especially if noun is put before janai ka?

    1. @sandra

      Finally!! :)

      ●これ、彼の辞書じゃない?
      = Kore, kare no jisho janai?

      Since it is a question, it means “Isn’t this his dictionary?”
      If it is a statement,
      これは、彼の辞書ではない。
      →(casual contraction) これ、彼の辞書じゃない。

  2. Hola (Hi) Maggie-sensei, this web is great!
    Could you help me translate this?:
    なんだ そりゃ
    ふふっ い一じゃ ないの

    1. @Daniela

      Hola Daniela,
      It depends on the context.
      なんだそりゃ What is that?/ What are you talking about? / No kidding
      いーじゃないの 
      1) When you try to convince the listener it is not a big deal, Hey, it’s not a biggie. / C’mon, it’s OK.
      2) When you see something that impresses me. “That’s not bad / That’s good!”
      When you

  3. hello maggie-sensei,
    sorry to trouble you, but, could you help me translate this:
    – ひとりきりじゃ気付けなかった (Hitorikiri ja kizukenakatta)
    – お伽話なんかじゃ (otogibanashi nanka ja)

    are jya (じゃ) on there is the same like janai (じゃない)?

    thank you so much….

    1. @maya

      Hi maya,
      ひとりきりでは→ひとりきりじゃ I would have been able to notice by myself
      おとぎ話なんかでは→おとぎ話なんかじゃ it is not a fairly tale

  4. Hello Maggie. Thanks for all of these informative posts.

    I was wondering what the difference between マギー先生はこの学校で教えているのではありません。 And…
    マギー先生はこの学校で教えていません。

    のではない just seems to be confusing for me in general

    Thanks in advance.

    1. @Shen

      Hi Shen
      マギー先生はこの学校で教えていません is just telling the fact that Maggie doesn’t work in this school.
      マギー先生はこの学校で教えているのではありません。 is more explanatory.

  5. Hello, this helped me a lot, thanks!

    Can you tell me what “no kanatte” means when paired with “shitetan janai”?

    “shitetan janai no kanatte” ?

    1. Hello M,
      Without context it’s quite difficult, but I would say that 知ってたんじゃないのかなって(思う) could mean “I think he/she might have known (about that)”

      ご参考に。

    2. @M

      Sorry. I didn’t see the comment. (Thank you 天人さん for answering the question)
      As 天人さん says, the translation changes depending on the context.
      Verb +してたんじゃないのかなって+(思う)
      I think if X has been doing something/was doing something
      If you mean しってたんじゃないのかな(=Shittetan ja nai no kana), I think if X has known (already) /new.

      So ~てたんじゃない is a casual contraction of ていたのではない

  6. Hello, Thanks for your continued lessons :)

    I wanted to ask a question regarding the difference between
    んじゃないか
    んじゃないんですか
    And んじゃないのか

    I’ll just use an example I heard, and ask what the difference of nuance is between them

    ゲームはまだ終わってないんじゃないのか

    What would the difference in nuance be for the three if you were to replace the end?

    Thank you very much :)

    1. @Gallus

      Hi Gallus,

      First the formality is different.
      んじゃないんですか polite
      んじゃないか / んじゃないのか rough/male speech (It sounds strong) You use this tone when you accuse someone / make your point in a strong way.
      When it is used as a question.

      Ex. 1) それは間違いなんじゃないですか?
      Ex. 2) それは間違いなんじゃないか?

      It depends on the context but you sometimes add の when you are not sure or emphasize the meaning.
      Ex. 3) それは間違いなんじゃないのか?

      And んじゃないのか

  7. why all male speeches are rough? i’m a man but i dont want to sound rough.i dont know how things work very well in japan but where i live is quite wrong to be rough with other people. so how should i use じゃない and んじゃない and other possible words without being rough?

    良く教えてくれてありがとうございました.

    1. @Ivan
      Why all male speeches are rough? It is a cultural thing from old days. Men also avoid using it when they talk to someone superior.
      じゃない・んじゃない itself is not rough and you can use it. Just some usage such as adding か? in the end sounds rough.
      Ex. それは違うんじゃない? = Sore wa chigaun janai? = I think it’s wrong/different/you are not right. (neutral)
      Ex. それは違うんじゃないか?= Sore wa chigaun janai ka? = rough/male speech

  8. Sorry I’m confused about ”jai nai ka” because the ”ka” is a question mark.Like in Bleach the dialogue was ”Aru ka yo” and ”Tasuken ja nee ka yo”.

    1. @Daniel

      Ah you say “janai ka” (blunt expression) when you ask a question or tell people your opinion.
      Ex. いいじゃないか = It is nice, isn’t it?
      Ex. 明日は雨が降るんじゃないか?= Isn’t going to rain tomorrow? (I think it is going to rain tomorrow. Am I right?)

      1. no I’m confused because of the other definition of ”Ka” than using it as a question marker so I’m asking to help understand why there was a other definition to it

        1. @Daniel

          Almost all the particles have several different functions/definitions.
          か as well has a a few different functions, more than just a question marker.
          This か is to stress your speech. There are other usages of か
          Ex. 何回も言ったじゃないですか。
          Ex. 何回も言ったじゃないか。(Male speech/ rough)
          I told you many times! (making your point)

          1. To understand that other definition of ”Ka” what does ”Konna kachi kata ga aru ka yo” from Bleach said By Ichigo to Ulquiorra mean? because I don’t know what this really means.

          2. Hello Daniel,
            The sentence-ending particle combination かよ has 2 meanings:
            1. Expressing doubt in a stronger way than 「か」 alone.
            2. Expressing irony.

            Konna kachi kata ga aru ka yo = こんな勝ち方があるかよ = Is this what you call a win?! / This is not the way you can win a battle!! (The speaker refuses to win a battle this way).

  9. Hey Maggie-Sensei, I have one question. Are there instances where you can say na instead of a negative form, like for example :
    馬鹿するな! Baka suru na! Don’t be an idiot!
    Is that only for don’t or can it be used as a negative form as well? Thank you!

    僕は本当に感謝するだ!

    1. @Daichi

      First,
      you don’t say, 馬鹿するな
      →You usually say, 馬鹿なことをするな (= Don’t do stupid things) or ばかばかしいことをするな

      Hmmm I am not sure if I understand your question here..

      You want to know if the suffix な is only for “Don’t do ~”? If so, we use な when we express our desire 〜たい+な
      Ex. 日本に行きたいな。
      = I would like to go to Japan (talking to yourself)

      When you wonder something

      Ex. これおいしいかな?
      = I wonder if this taste good.

      Ex. 彼は来ないのかな。
      = I wonder if he is not coming.

      (僕は本当に感謝するだ→本当に感謝しています。)

  10. 嘘に決まってるじゃないですか

    Here says something like “I’m definitely lying” or “This is definitely a lie”, right?

    Thanks for helping!

    1. @jache

      Hello jache

      I need to know more context but
      if the listener told the speaker was not looking/watching something then it means “I AM looking/watching!”
      And if the speaker is complaining that the listener is watching something, “(But) You ARE looking/watching ~!””

      It is a male speech and you use “か” in the end when you usually talk back to people or point out something that you don’t like about.

  11. 先生、こんにちは。

    is there a logic of transformation from では to じゃ or are they like いたす and する – two separate words with different levels of politeness?

    1. @iji

      こんにちは、iji

      logic of transformation?
      1) V-te form ~んで+は→じゃ Ex. 読んではいけません →読んじゃいけません。
      2) Noun + では→じゃ Ex. マギーではない→マギーじゃない
      3) place + では→じゃ Ex. 家では勉強しない→家じゃ勉強しない。

      As you say では and じゃ has a difference of politeness.
      じゃ a casual form.

      (する is not a casual form. It is a plain (dictionary) form.)
      する is a plain form not casual.

  12. こんにちは、マギー先生!

    ちょっと質問があるんですが、
    「彼は格好よくない?」と「彼は「格好いいじゃない?」は同じですか? (Isn’t he cool?!)
    「〜じゃない」と代わりに否定形容詞をよく使う友達がいて、「〜じゃない」と同じヌアンスかなと思って。例えば:
    このケーキ美味しくない? (Isn’t this cake tasty?!)

    Also, when using んじゃない for giving orders, is it only men that can use it? I was just wondering since I was playing this game and a female character kept using this form to give orders to her sidekicks. Like 「じろじろ見るんじゃないよ!」and「さぼるんじゃないよ」など。

    1. @Lava

      こんにちは、Lava! 彼、格好よくない? and 彼、格好いいじゃない mean the same. He is cool, isn’t he?
      But to be precise, here is the nuance difference.
      彼、格好よくない? (asking for agreement.)
      彼、格好いいじゃない。(expressing your opinion.)

      *******

      このケーキ美味しくない?= I think this cake is delicious. Don’t you agree? / Don’t you think this cake is delicious? = It’s delicious!
      Yes, we use this pattern a lot in conversation.

      ******
      「じろじろ見るんじゃないよ!」and「さぼるんじゃないよ」
      Good ones! 〜じゃないよ is a rough male speech.
      But you do hear mothers say じろじろ見るんじゃありません(よ)。/さぼるんじゃありません(よ)。

  13. good evening dear maggie sensei and everyone. these questions may look like i am not reading the lesson carefully but i just want to clarify something about the examples above.

    surunjanai – not doing
    shitanjanai – did not do

    kyou wa ame ga furun janai ka to omotta – i thought it might rain

    is “ka” the one who made it “might rain” and if there wasn’t “ka” like “surunjanai”, it would be “rain will not fall”?
    —————————

    dear maggie sensei janain janai
    would this be mean “it,s dear maggie sensei”
    i saw an example and it did not end with question mark also, that is why i think it is not inlined with the (nai + njanai) section

    dear maggie sensei janai! – its dear maggie sensei

    dear maggie sensei nan janai – it is not dear maggie sensei.

    dear maggie sensei janainjanai – “its dear maggie sensei”?

    1. oh sorry dear maggie sensei, what i am asking is

      maggie sensei janain janai

      “its -not- dear maggie sensei”

    2. Hello again and again.

      ~んじゃない has two meanings:
      1. ~てはいけない
      2. たぶん…だろう

      Here we have the 2nd meaning:
      Aじゃない(か) = It’s A! / It must be A! (強い肯定の語気)
      Aなんじゃないか = It might be A / It could be A
      Aじゃないんじゃないか = This isn’t A, right? / This isn’t A, is it? (lit. isn’t that this isn’t A? = this isn’t A, is it?)

      ~では/じゃかと思った= I thought it could / might~
      こんなことになるんじゃないかと思ったんだ。 = I thought (one day) this could / might happen / This is what I was afraid of.

      ~かと思った = I though~ . (part. か implies less confidence)
      恥ずかしさで死ぬかと思ったんだ。 = I thought he/she was going to die of embarrassment.

      1. Little error:
        ~では/じゃかと思った= I thought it could / might~ ==> ~では/じゃないかと思った= I thought it could / might~

        1. wow thank you so much for explaining them to me one by one, .n_n. i am really grateful to you 天人さん…

  14. good morning dear maggie sensei and everyone. thank you so much again. n_n. but then, i would like to seek clarification for some words:

    1. does “ii no ka” derived from “ii n(o) janai (desu)ka.” ?
    2. does “sokka” (often translated as “i see”) derived of “sou janai desu ka.” ?

    thank you so much in advance dear maggie sensei.

    1. @obakasan000

      じゃない(=janai) is a casual form of ではない(=dewanai)

      1) If you meant to say “It’s good, isn’t it!” you can say いいですね(=iidesune) or いいじゃないですか (=iijanai desuka)

      いいのか(=iinoka) : whether something is good (OK) or not
      これでいいのか。= I wonder if it is OK this way.
      これでいいのかなあ = (softer)

      2) As you said そっか(=sokka) means “I see..” and it is from そうですか (=soudesuka).
      そうじゃないですか(=soujanai desu ka) means “Isn’t it true?/Don’t you agree?” so it is different from そっか(=sokka)

  15. Very well-explained tutorial. But in terms of usage, can you tell me the difference or when to use ja nai, dewa nai or even ja arimasen? I mean in terms of superior, colleagues or strangers?

    1. @Alisa

      As I explained in the lesson じゃない is a casual form of ではない
      So the politeness level is
      (polite to casual)
      ではありません

      じゃありません

      ではない

      じゃない
      So if you are talking to someone superior, stick to ではありません but if you are talking to your friends, you can use じゃない

      1. Thanks for the reply! I always have problems differentiating the polite and casual forms as I often get mixed replies from people. :(

        1. @Alisa
          You’re welcome. If people mix casual and polite Japanese, then じゃない is totally safe to use.
          If you want to sound yourself more polite, mix it with です form
          そうじゃないです。
          言ったんじゃないです。etc.

  16. Thank you very much for this lesson. It definitely help s a lot in understanding. do keep up the good work Maggie Sensei

  17. sensei, I have a question,
    I found this pattern in manga:

    ~なんじゃないでしょうか。

    What it’s mean sensei?
    I confused to grab the meaning… >.<

    1. @reiz

      Hi Reiz!
      ~なんじゃないでしょうか。is a tag question. And it is used to make sure what you think or make your point asking the listener’s opinion.
      Although でしょうか is a polite way to make a tag question, なんじゃない is a casual contraction of なのではない

      ★na- adjective, noun, demonstrative adjective :
      Ex. 必要な
      = hitsuyouna = necessary
      →必要なのではないでしょうか?
      = Hitsuyou nanode wa nai deshouka?
      = Isn’t it necessary?/ Don’t we need something?
      = I think it is necessary.
      →必要なんじゃないでしょうか?

      私のこと嫌いなのではないでしょうか?
      Watashi no koto kirai nano dewa nai deshouka?
      = I think you don’t like me, do you?/ I think you don’t like me.

      私のこと嫌いなんじゃないでしょうか?
      = Watshi no koto kirai nanjanai deshouka?

      (More casual)
      私のこと嫌いなんじゃない?
      = Watashi no koto kirai nanjanai?

  18. マギーさん、こんにちわ!このレッソンはとても面白いんじゃないんですね!。ありがとうございました!
    とにかく、私は問題を抱えていた。
    その例。。。『今日、加藤さんは来ないんじゃないでしょうか?
    = I think Kato-san is coming today. Don’t you think so?』と 『マギーは今、家にいないんじゃない?
    = I think Maggie is not home. Don’t you think so?』

    First example, why it’s not a negative “not coming” just like in the second example “not home” or vice versa, why it’s not “Maggie is at home, don’t you think so?” just like the first example “coming”. I mean both have the same double negative form(来ないんじゃない) and (いないんじゃない) but the two translated differently? 分かりました、マギーさん?^^;

    1. @王様

      こんにちは!王様!
      Ah, thank you for spotting the mistake. You are right.
      今日、加藤さんは来ないんじゃないでしょうか? The translation should mean
      “I think Kato-san is not coming today. Don’t you think so?”
      I fixed it. ありがとう、王様!

      BTW did you think this lesson was interesting? If so, このレッスンは面白いじゃないですか。
      このレッソンはとても面白いんじゃないんですね!means “This lesson is not interesting, don’t you agree?”
      Hope you didn’t mean that. :)

      Haha, did you think my lesson was interesting? If so, このレッスンは面白いじゃないですか。
      このレッソンはとても面白いんじゃないんですね!means “This lesson is not interesting, don’t you agree?”
      Hope you didn’t mean that. lol

      1. 何!!いええええ!すみませんマギー先生>_<
        レッソンはとても面白いていうか!!-_- (I think I didn’t use ていうか right) -_-

        Well now I think I understand the difference when using んじゃないか? and only じゃないか? .. I learn by making mistakes ^^;

        Thanks a lot for explaining that point and for the correction :D

  19. 始めましてマギー先生。何時も楽しいレッスンを作ってくれて本当に有難う御座います
    本当は随分昔からこのサイトを時々見に来たがこれは初めてのコメントなのですもっと早く印刷したかったけどいつも後にしようと思う(小心っていうかアバウトな性格っていうやつかな〜 ^^)
    兎に角いつもこのサイトで色々な勉強になるのにお礼でも言わないのはちょっと無礼だと思ったから改めて少し遅かったけど本当に有難う御座います
    There! This is actually the first time i ever tried to write something in japanese so i hope its not too akward or worst case didnt make any sense, its probably full of mistakes thou ^^
    Anyhow i really want to thank you again for the wonderfull work and effort you put into this, i think this is the best website out there when it comes to teaching japanese!
    Merci du fond du coeur! =)

    1. @ライアン
      Your Japanese is amazing so I will write to you in Japanese.
      こんにちは!ライアン!!コメントと〜〜〜ってもうれしかったです!
      そして日本語、上手に書けていましたよ。いつでも気軽にコメントして下さい。このサイトは日本語を勉強しているみんなが友達の家に遊びにくる様な気持で来てくれるといいなって思います。これからもよろしくお願いします。

      1. 本当?よかった〜 ^^ 早く返事してくれてありがとう!!
        なんか返事を待つていて落ち着かなかった〜でも僕の日本語がまだまだと思うよ誉められてびっくりしたけど!嬉しい〜 ^^
        これからもいっぱいコメントするつもりよ!覚悟しなさい! =)

  20. Amazing!!! Thank you ♥~
    Can you make a lesson about usage of こと? It’s really annoying…(At least for me (. .;) )

    1. @Flora
      Hi Flora! Welcome to our site!
      こと is used for nominalization.
      V + こと→
      I like eating = 食べることが好きです。 = Taberu koto ga suki desu.
      Practicing is good. = 練習することはいいことです。 = Renshuu suru koto wa ii koto desu.
      etc.

      But it is deeper than that. Feel free to practice making a sentence using こと here (or Twitter). I can always check it for you.

    2. @Flora

      OK, I will add it to my lesson request list. It may take a time but I will make a lesson for you either on this site or on Facebook, OK? 待っててね。

  21. I was helping about this the other day but you’ve cleared this up a little more easier for me to understand! Thanks!

    By the way, I have my own blog which focuses on Asian culture and entertainment such as video games and I wonder if it is possible for you to view it and tell me what you think please: http://nynyonlinex.wordpress.com

  22. Thank you so much for doing this im teaching myself japanese and this is invaluable to me ty ty ty ty I noticed here that the first sentence in this example is incorrect the japanese says neko=cat but the english text reads inu=dog

    ●マギーは猫ではありません。
    = Maggie wa inu de wa arimasen.

    ●マギーは猫じゃありません。
    = Maggie wa neko ja arimasen.

    1. @Fonzybear

      Ooops! I’m a dog! I’m a dog!!!
      Thank you for spotting the mistake. I fixed it. And I am happy to hear you use my site to study Japanese. :-P

  23. このレスンはずいぶん詳しいじゃないですか! これを絶対に覚えておきます! お疲れ様でした! \(^0^)/

    ところで,マギー先生はExileが好き? 私は大ファンですよ ♥

    Ex. Exileの新曲、悪くないんじゃない?(female speech)
    = Ekuzairu no shinkyoku, waruku nain janai?
    = Exile’s new song is not bad, huh?

    1. @Remi Ayumi Lee

      こんにちは!!!元気でしたか?
      Excile、歌も踊りもかっこいいと思いますよ〜 !onpu!
      はい、是非、”じゃない”の使い方、マスターして下さいね。 !happyface!

  24. “It is considered to be a dialect in Tokyo (Yokohama) area but it is pretty common among other areas.”

    It’s a dialect which originated in Yokohama and have spread to other areas.
    When you write “Tokyo (Yokohama)” you make it look like Yokohama is a part of Tokyo.

  25. わああ!素晴らしいレッスンじゃない!
    人形は賢い人形じゃない。
    じゃあー
    「じゃない」= いいえ
    「じゃない」= はい
    「じゃない」 = 多分
    人形はマゴマゴです。 
    人間はちょっとおかしいじゃない!
    どんあ意味はどうやってわかりますか?

    1. @人形Angelic

      わ〜初めてのコメントじゃない?
      OK, こうやったらわかるかな?
      賢い人形じゃない?= Isn’t she a smart doll?
      賢い人形じゃない。= She is not a smart doll.
      賢い人形じゃない!= She’s a smart doll.

  26. こんにちは!Another wonderful lesson, マギー先生。 I like these colors better. They are a little less eye straining. (^^) ありがとうございました!

    ·ケーラ

  27. Sensei! Sensei finished the lesson! お疲れ様でした!

    Sensei as soon as I buy a Mac computer I plan to change my name to NecroMadMac as you wrote in the begining of the lesson, it sounds cool. XD

    Hopefully I will get to this lesson soon (I am studying in the index order as not to miss any lesson from Maggiesensei).

    先生、この素敵なレッスン作ってくれて本当にどうもありがとうございました!マギー先生いつも優しすぎますね! :)

    Hopefully I did didn’t butcher sensei’s native tongue that much with my previous sentences. :( If that was the case:

    先生、申し訳ありません。 :(

    1. @NecroMadMat

      Hello, NMM!!!
      I am very happy to hear that you have been trying to study all my lessons. So you have been following the index order?
      Well, I hope you eventually get to this lesson because I made it for you!
      OMG I am sorry!! I wrote your name NecroMadMac??? I will fix it when I finish writing this comment. Hehe I am a Mac user so….. Please forgive me.
      BTW Your Japanese is just perfect!!!

      1. Yes sensei. I have been following the Main Index and now that I think about it I am kind of scared I may have skipped the newest lessons sensei has created since I started studying a couple of months ago. :S The new lessons are not listed by entry date, right sensei?

        Oh sensei prefers Mac! :) I like the style of the Mac OS but I can’t part ways with the number of customization and programs that are available for W7. :)

        Sensei, I really appreciate those words. I will keep doing my best to extend my knowledge to different types of sentences and with Maggiesensei’s help I am sure I can do it! Thank you Maggiesensei. :)

        1. @NecroMadMat

          Yes, you can do it!! That is why I am here for!
          Haha, that’s right. I keep adding lessons so you may miss the new lessons if you follow the index. I am sorry for all the inconvenience.

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