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  5. "どうしてあさごはんを食べないんですか?"


Translation:Why are you not eating breakfast?

July 9, 2017



The ん softens the tabenai as well, making it a gentle query. I can imagine a parent asking their child this.


Correct me if im wrong but this sentence seems more like "why do you not eat breakfast" than "why are you not eating breakfast".


Is there a good explanation for the continuous action in English, since I can't see any indication of it in Japanese?


Examples of how to use this Japanese:

Situation 1

Child: (sitting at the table with their breakfast untouched)

Parent: Why aren't you eating breakfast?

Situation 2

Why aren't you eating breakfast (every day)? = Why don't you eat breakfast (every day)?

I think duolingo was trying to differentiate from the invitational "why don't you ~?", but it's still not a clear translation because it gets confused with the present progressive. I definitely didn't type the duolingo answer and whatever I wrote was accepted, probably "why don't you eat breakfast?"


Still, it would need Te form to use continous. This is just incorrect.


I guess I didn't explain very clearly, but the two situations I listed are examples of how the Japanese is used. In situation one where the child is sitting at the table and not eating, it's not unnatural to say どうしてあさごはんを食べないんですか. It does not require the -te form. I often find if I'm at a party and do not eat continuously from start to finish a Japanese person will unfailingly ask me 食べないの? (tabenai no, you're not eating?) without using the -te form.


Japanese is a very contextually dependent language. The "-n" nominalizes the verb it follows. So, literally, the sentence says, "Why is it that (you) do not eat breakfast?" The "desu" is stative and there is no need to use "-te iru." (Although it probably wouldn't be ungrammatical to do so.) The literal meaning can apply to either context.


The "n" is a form of the particle "no." The particle syntactically turns the verb "tabenai" into a noun. This verb is a non-past form which, as a verb, generally indicates customary state or futurity. Nouns do not have tense. So, "tabenai + n" means something like "a not eating." "Desu" affirms the noun with reference to the topic-subject, which in this case is the unexpressed second person, "you." The result of that, in this case is literally something like "a not eating is affirmed about you." The "ka" makes this a question, "is a not eating affirmed about you" or, a bit more free, "does a not-eating apply to you?" If the "dou shite" connects with "tabenai" you get something like "does a why not eating apply to you? " If it can be argued that the "dou shite" connects with "desu" you get "why does a not-eating apply to you? " Or, more rigorously, "Why is it a matter of your not eating?"


I've heard this explanation a lot but when discussing it with my Japanese professors no one particularly felt that this is the case. Nor did I find anything in grammar books we have here at the university, like the multi-part 現代日本語文法, to support this theory. ~のですか is simply a question asking for explanation, and ~のです is an answer to that type of question.

The way I see it, it might or might not be related to nominalization. But just because it looks the same doesn't mean it is the same. After all, の-nominalization and の-possessive are hardly the same thing. If you read it somewhere, I would very much like to see the source.


Which makes the nitpicky discussion weather continues or simple present should be used in English to make the translation more "direct" seem a bit ridiculous ;)


The "n" is a contracted "no" which grammatically makes the predicate a noun and softens the sentence to something like "Is it a matter of.... " It is good to realize this is what is going on but it is definitely NOT GOOD to trasnlate it literally into English.




can it be tabenai instead of tabenain?


The ん adds emphasis which implies the question expects more than a simple answer.


I think the last 'n' is not a part of the word


如何して朝 御飯 を食べないんですか?



Note that 如何/どう is generally written in kana only.


The honorific prefixes お and ご as well.


What's the difference between "-nain" and "-masen"? In terms of colloquial and formality


Formality. - masen is more polite. Otherwise the meaning is the same.


The "n" in "...nai n" is an elided particle "no" which essentially nominalizes the verb (makes it a noun). The "n" in "masen" is a negative marker, apparently a surviving colloquial use of the classical negative "nu."


The ~のです form changes the meaning of the question a little bit. It's asking for explanation, so instead of a simple yes/no answer, the listener is expected to provide a bit more detailed piece of information. That's why you can never use ~のですか in pure yes/no questions. Answer to this type of question will also contain ~のです, so for example:

どうして朝ご飯を食べないんですか。→ 寝すぎて全然時間がなかったんです。

~のです has the same level of grammatical politeness as standard ~ます form. However, the very act of asking for an explanation means that you should be at least somewhat familiar with the person and/or be in proper context, otherwise it might be seen as prying - just use common sense. As was said by others, the contracted variant ~んです is a more colloquial, less formal variant.




Why don't you have breakfast? And it marked me as wrong


and now that's what it suggests as the answer...


So is the "n" used with verbs only


should "why won't you eat breakfast?" be allowed? it said no but suggested "why don't you eat breakfast?" is that slight difference really shown here?


I'm pretty sure that should be accepted


DL is currently translating "どうしてあさごはんを食べないんですか?" as "Why don't you eat breakfast?" and in English that translation has (at least) two connotations: the first is an invitation like "won't you have some breakfast?" and the second is a straight-forward question similar to "for what reason do you not eat breakfast?" Which of those two is implied here in the original Japanese?


The second, "for what reason do you not eat breakfast?"

If you wanted to invite someone to eat breakfast you could say 朝ご飯を食べませんか (asagohan o tabemasen ka).


I believe the use of の or ん in this manner (nominalization) is a somewhat feminine usage especially in a question but I'm not certain about the parameters of gender specific usage

A 日本の友達 told me her male friend learned 日本語 from his wife so he always sounded a little effeminate My 日本語 was weak but better than my friend's husband's 英語 so he & I used 日本語 a lot But they were always very careful to correct me if I used a word I heard him use that wasn't considered proper for a female For example I could use 出来る meaning to be able to but not as he used it to do something well or make something That was considered too masculine --I'm really stretching my memory here


~のですか / ~んですか is simply asking for explanation or reasons, it is not feminine / masculine speech by itself, it's a part of grammar.

What might be perceived as feminine or childish is excessive use of ~のです / ~んです, but I'm not entirely sure. I guess it also depends on where your friend is from.


"why you are not eating breakfast?"


It is possible, but the Japanese is not present progressive.


In my dialect of English "why you are" is not correct, is it correct in yours?


No, of course not.


I don't think it's a matter of differing dialect though isolaciao - it's called correct English grammar and syntax.


Some dialects do unexpected things, so I just wanted to confirm. I only speak one kind of English.


Again, of course. I read it wrongly and took it as "why are you." Errare est humanum.


What's the difference between どうしてand なぜ?


They have the same meaning, just なぜ is more formal.

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