"Isn't the train late?"
I have many Japanese friends, and when I am confused I often ask which way they would say it. The number of times I have heard them say, "I would choose any of them" or "That doesn't make sense" is huge. Remember how many languages are available and we are learning from an algorithm written by a programmer. Don't be to harsh. Try and seek your answers from a variety of sources, and make Japanese friends if you are lucky enough to. がんばってみんなさん。よくできてる。
Definitely acceptable, though, it has a slightly different ring to it.
"Desu ne" is more along the lines of - "It's late, isn't it?", inviting the other party to respond/agree with you, when you've stated an obvious fact, rather than actually asking if it's late or not.
In English, there is a slight difference between "Isn't the train late?" (Seeking affirmation about the train being late) and "The train isn't late?" (Surprise that the train isn't late when you expected it to be). What would be the difference between those two questions in Japanese?
Since this question is asked in English as the former, I assume the answer is intended to communicate the same thing. Duo has a bunch of "isn't it [adjective]?" questions that are translated "[negative adjective] ですか" so I hope we're not all learning to say things we don't mean.
I think that's just one of those things you've got to deal with in any language. E.g., in English, you might ask "if 'slow' means both 'not moving very quickly' and 'not very smart', how can you tell them apart when it's talking about a person?" And I suspect the answer to that is the same as this.
Ah I see, thanks. I have another question about the negative form... I got myself a book to study Japanese by my own, and there's this sentence:
Which they translate to: Would you like to see a movie on Saturday?
I'm glad I already know all those words, but I don't understand the negative form here. For me it's like I was asking: On Saturday, you do not watch a movie?
Hmm, I don't know, I just don't like negative forms when I don't even want to negate something. But I guess something similar exists in English too. Like: "Don't you like to watch a movie on Saturday?" But I still don't get the whole thing yet (and there is no want/like in the Japanese sentence above, only implied then). Maybe you can help?
I think is more similar to "won't you watch a movie (with me)?", that's a way to use negative to make an invitation. The problem with this translation is that the usage of ～ませんか is more soft and politer than the English counterpart. I think that for the English sentence I just wrote, the speaker is assuming a yes, while when you use ～ませんか in Japanese you don't know if the listener will say yes or no, so in that case "would you like to～" is more fitting.
If you are having trouble with negative polite questions in masu form, thinking of ～ませんか as just an expression of a "soft polite invitation where the listener has the right to say no" might help. There are other similar usages of negative rhetorical questions in Japanese, so you will pick it up eventually.
Wow, this makes much more sense now. I'm deeply grateful for your explanations, they always help to understand specific contexts better. :)
So how would I answer a negative question. :o
If I say "はい", is it: Yes, that's correct, I do NOT want to watch a movie. And if I say.. well okay, I don't know if you say "いいえ" because it's very direct? But IF I would say "いいえ" would it mean: "That's not correct, I want to watch a movie"? Or is it the other way around cough I don't trust myself with negative forms, but not just in Japanese cough..
Or is it the other way around cough I don't trust myself with negative forms
I actually never thought about that, I think while it depends on the context, most probably you will answer with a positive sentence if you wanted to go with that person to said invitation; If you wanted to reject that invitation you are better of being indirect like in any language, things like "I'm busy that day", "maybe some other time".
Here are some responses for「土曜日に映画を見 ませんか」…
「うん、行きましょう」"yeah, let's go".
「いいですよ、何を見たいんですか?」"sure thing, what do you want to see?".
「無理、でも来週暇があるんだね」"I can't but I'm free next week, ok?".
「ごめんね、その日はちょっと忙しいんです」"I'm sorry, but I'll be a bit busy that day".
「あぁ、ありがとう、でも、今回はすでに予定が入っています」"ah, thank you, but I already have plans this time".
「その日はちょっと～、すみません。後でまた誘ってください。じゃあ、また今度ね」"that day for me is a bit..., I'm sorry. Do invite me again later, please. Anyways, see you later". This one is useful if you want to be awkward（笑）
Here is a link with more ways to reject someone politely, I found it entertaining to read:
So I know (at least I think I do) that if this sentence were about the train being EARLY, we would say 電車、早くないですか, rather than 速くないですか (which are homophones.) Please let me know if I've misunderstood.
But for THIS sentence, where the train is SLOW, is 遅 the appropriate kanji? Or is it like hayaku where there's a different kanji for slow versus late?
I was also having difficulty understanding this until I went through the next question and broke it down as such:
「遅くない」＝ not late 「遅くないです」＝ it is not late 「遅くないですか」＝ it is not late? ＝ isn't it late? 「電車、遅くないですか」＝ isn't the train late?
I'm not sure if it would help others who have the same problem as me
P.S. Hmmm but I can't explain "The train isn't late?" like surprised that the train isn't late with such a breakdown though...