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  5. "明るくないですか?"


Translation:Isn't it bright?

June 10, 2017



Okay, here goes for all these type of questions. There are 3 kinds of translation ppl seem to get confused with each other. Take this sentence as an example.

  1. 「明るくないですか?」 Means "Isn't it bright?"
  2. 「明るいんじゃないですか?) Means "It isn't bright?"
  3. 「明るいですね。」 Means "It is bright, isn't it?"

Hope these all clears up.


But how would you ask "Is it not bright?" That should be: 明るくないですか?

"Isn't" in English seeks positive confirmation and more closely matches your ね example, seeking "yes" to say "yes, its bright". "Isn't it bright?" with a "yes" response means it is truely bright, but "is it not bright?" with a "yes" response means its not bright. ”明るくないですか?” with a "はい" response means its not bright, which closer matches the "is it not bright?" translation.


Except Japanese people will reply no to 'isnt it bright?' if they think it is bright. Meaning they negate the negative statement in the question so in Japanese both of these are the same


Is it a "do you mind" situation?


So for all these sorts of questions, might not a better translation be "It isn't bright, is it?"


The correct translation for these types of questions is "Is it not ___?" Duo's use of "isn't" means the English yes/no is opposite of what a Japanese speaker would seek.

If it is bright out, the converstion would be: Isn't it bright? -Yes 明るいですか? -はい Is it not bright? -No 明るくないですか? -いいえ

If you use "isn't it bright" as the translation, I've just shown its the opposite response as what you'd expect in Japanese. This is all according to multiple Japanese speakers living in Japan currently. Duo needs to update these translations to prevent this kind of confusion.


This is something that's been confusing me. Though, my experience as a native English speaker is that "isn't" and "is not" are the same, even in this context.

"Isn't it bright?" It is obviously bright and the speaker is emphasizing this fact, asking for others to agree.

"Is it not bright?" is the same, but more archaic (UNLESS the "not" is said with a particular intonation, emphasizing it. Even so, though, this usage isn't exactly proper, similarly to slang or regional dialect.)

"Is it bright?" The speaker does not know if it is bright or not.

"Is it bright or not bright?" the speaker does not know if it is bright or not.

"How bright is it?" The speaker is seeking information related to brightness, which could range from bright to dim, including everything in between.

But yeah, if an English speaker asks "Isn't it ___?" he or she is seeking confirmation. I don't know if the Japanese use this wording in the same way or not.


as far as I noticed for questions is as ambiguous as the English one, for negatives without questions is about the negative. If you were to say 明るくないね that's definitely rhetorical though.


I think I understand what you're saying. In English, yes, statements in statement form are, as you put it, about the negative. (I.e., "This food isn't good." is informing others that the food is bad.) but if it's in the form of a question, it's meaning is to express something positive. ("Isn't this food good?" means "This food is good!" and is inviting others to agree, similarly to the Japanese "ne" at the end of a sentence.)

When translated literally, "Kono gohan wa oishikunai desu ka?" matches, but I don't know if the meaning behind the words match in the same way that "Kono gohan wa oishii desu ne!" does. Would the two sentences be conveying the same exact idea, or are there nuances between them?


I think we are talking in circles lol. Let me answer your question by translating the Japanese sentences into the meaning rather than English.

「明るくない?」that means "Don’t you think it's bright?" the speaker expects a confirmation as an answer, very similar to ね

「明るいね?」" it's bright, right?", the speaker expects a confirmation as well. "Don’t you think it's bright?".

Very confusing right? I understand this as if they were not really using the negative form of 明るい but they are using 明るく and attaching ない? at the end to look for confirmation. So you see that 明るく means "bright", even in the adverbial form, and the ない? is more like "isn't it?" in English. That's what I understand from what natives have told me. However, It is very confusing even for me.

So for「このご飯、おいしい?」It's more direct, is like saying "this rice, is it delicious?". Because is not using ない?--- But if you phrase it as「このご飯、『おいしく』ない?」 you are asking for a confirmation "this rice, delicious, no?".

So back to English:

Isn't this food good?" means "This food is good!"

The answer you expect there is the same answer you would expect from the Japanese sentence「おいしくないですか?」 if the food is good you expect the listener to respond with "yes, very much" and you are not really expecting "no" but the listener can be a prick and say "no is not" or「いえ、おいしくないよ」。

You can also say in English: "This food is not delicious, right?" and in that one, the speaker is expecting confirmation that the food is indeed not delicious. So in Japanese that is said as「おいしくなく『ない』?」which made my head hurt when I was trying to understand it as first, but like as I said before, the「ない?」at the end is seen as a question similar to "isn't?" in English. So what you are really saying is おいしくない + ない?and to join ない? into おいしくない you need to change it to the adverbial form first as おいしくなく and then add the ない? at the end.「おいしくなくない?」someone being overly-modest saying "it's not delicious, right?" and you can answer...「ううん、おいしいよ」"no, it is delicious".

However some natives have told me that it can also be interpreted the other way as well, that's why I said is ambiguous, but so far I haven't found any comprehensible example of these cases, and I think the 2 natives that were trying to explain me this were also confused by the Japanese meaning because the majority of natives have told me what I just explained. Let me know if the explanation was helpful.


I think I understand completely now! :D Thank you very much for untangling that for me! Now that I have an understanding of it, it will just take practice to make sure I can communicate clearly. Thanks again!



As someone with an extreme sensitivity to light, I sometimes ask if it's bright where I'm going to be going. I.e., "Is it bright outside?" Or, I may ask "But isn't it bright outside?" if someone says I won't need my sunglasses.

But anyway, one thing that's important to remember about learning a language is that it's not all about what you would realistically say. It's also about understanding other people who speak to you in that language, and sometimes people say the craziest things.


This sentence doesn't seem like i would... well... ever say it in my lifetime?

if referring to someone's phone screen or something, wouldn't "ちょっと明るいですよね?” make a lot more sense?

I mean like... MAYBE... if i just bought someone a flashlight and it turns out it's a crap chinese Fakelight™ or something and i didn't know, i guess i would say "what... is it not bright?"


That would be more like 「明るくないでしょう?」

"Isn't it bright?" is the correct translation here.

See here for more discussion: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23144686


Why not, "It's bright, isn't it?"


I guess because it has no "nee" at the end.


It's bright isn't it? Is pretty similar to isn't it bright?


You're correct. Both of those seek positive confirmation that it is bright, but "Its bright, isn't it" would be written as: 明るいですね。

The translation should be "Is it not bright?".


"Is it not bright?" was marked incorrect. When I say it out loud it sounds really posh/old fashioned, but it's not wrong.


It seems that you answer negative questions differently in Japanese than in English. Can someone confirm this?:

明るくないですか means "It is bright, do you agree?" (regardless of the literal meaning)

where the answers

YES=disagrees ("Yes, it is not bright, as you literally said")

NO=agrees ("No, it IS bright")

This is what I have heard but it feels a bit strange that in such a polite language, sometimes you agree with people by answering "no".

Anyway, what happens when you use a negative question for an invitation? If I ask コーヒーを飲みませんか, if they answer yes, are they turning down my offer? ("You're right, we won't drink coffee.")


Why isn't "Isn't it familiar" accepted by DL?


明るい does not mean "familiar" in any way.


ブブー this is wrong, the word can be used to say someone is bright in a certain topic, as the term "familiar" or "well versed" is in English.

Jisho for example list this example of the term "に明るい"



He's familiar with physics


I'm familiar with this neighborhood


She's well versed in Spanish literature

and you can also find some examples for this expression with a quick google search as in



he's bright/well-versed with computers


I'm familiar with this area

the reason why is wrong in this sentence is because this is an expression often used to make a compliment, and not a popular one, you can only use it this way and the true meaning is more close to bright than to the words in English. To change this exercise to something similar, you need a context of a trade/area or something similar.


Could this also be translated to "Isn't dark?" because of the negative use of "bright"?


In Japanese, they negate questions to make them more polite, so "Isn't it bright?" is probably a more natural translation.


This "isn't it" translations are all wrong because in English, "isn't it bright?" = "it's bright, right?" Not: it's not bright


The translation is correct. Even though you're using "akarukunai", what you're expecting back when you say it, is for the other person to agree that it's bright, like you would with "It's bright, right?" (as you mentioned).

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