5.2 X is not Y: Xは (wa) Yじゃないです (janai desu)

This module will introduce you to the negative forms of the ‘XはYです’ sentence pattern, building on your understanding of the affirmative and question forms.

Do you remember the phrase we learned in Module 3.3?


X wa Y ga amari suki janai desu.

X doesn’t like Y very much.


To negate the XはY です sentence pattern, you can use the same ending form じゃないです (janai desu):


X wa Y desu.

X is Y.


X wa Y janai desu.

X is not Y.


Alternatively, for a more formal tone than じゃないです (janai desu), you can use じゃありません (ja arimasen) or the even more formal ではありません (de wa arimasen) to express ‘X is not Y’.

Here’s how they align in terms of formality:

Polite yet conversational
じゃないです janai desu
じゃありません ja arimasen
More formal
ではありません dewa arimasen

It’s important to recognise that ではありません is typically used in written language or formal speech rather than daily conversation. Additionally, you may encounter other formal negation expressions beyond this textbook, such as ではございません (dewa gozaimasen).


Exercise 1




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Japanese Introductory 1 Copyright © 2024 by Iori Hamada is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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