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  5. "My head does not hurt."

"My head does not hurt."


August 8, 2017



Why is this not "atama ga"?


I don't get this either. In the sentence "My head hurts" the correct answer is あたまがいたいんです。, but あたまはいたいんです is not excepted. Why is it が in one sentence and は in the other?


You should have known the following at this level: は with ない at the end is a copula (は as a stress of the negative sense). It is not an obligation but is very common.


Ok, I'll bite to your somewhat snarky reply.

With ◯は◯◯ないです, iirc, です is still the copula.

With ◯は◯◯ではない、ない is the plain form copula and ありません is the polite one.

So.. almost right I guess?


は and negative are copula. ~ない's polite form is ~ません and if ない is used as an adjective, polite form is ないです/ありません. So the common forms include: は…ない, は…ではない, は…ません, は…ではありません.


Lest this becomes a debate that I doubt anyone is waiting for, let me just post the source that gave me my understanding about the copula:



「頭は痛くないです」is good 「頭が痛くないです」does not sound right. On the other hand,「頭が痛いです」is good,「頭は痛いです」does not sound right. I cannot explain why, sorry!


This is the rule: use は if you are answering a question on the right-hand side of the sentence; and use が if the question is on the left-hand side.

頭 _ 痛い?痛くない? so 頭は痛い or 頭は痛くない。

頭?胃?おなか? _ 痛い so 頭が痛い or おなかが痛い。

As we can see using は or が depends on whether the options are on the left side or the right side.

This is the ultimate guide in Japanese: http://kato.chobi.net/haga/index.html


That's accepted as well.


If you aren't giving the kanji as an option, you shouldn't have it as the only translation when you tap the word


I ended up using the word-bank & picked the provided translation, but I wanted to know whether the following was an acceptable translation, and what the difference was between いません & ないです in this case.



Edit: Ok, I had a look online for a bit, and my translation seems incorrect. Could anyone explain what it would actually "mean", even though it's not a normal translation?



いたい is the adjective (Negative: いたくありません or いたくないです)

いたむ is the verb (Negative: いたみません)


Ah, ok, I think I get it. Correct me if I'm wrong, ok? Assuming the sentence was "My head hurts":

If I wanted to use いたい, as in 頭は痛い..., since it's an adjective I'd have to then end the sentence with either です or だ.

The sentence can end in ます however, if rather than using an adjective, the intransitive verb 痛みますis used instead, as only nouns or i-adjectives are followed by です.

Incidentally, similar to, "My head hurts" assuming the adjective came before the noun, could I have written something like?


Which, I think would mean, more or less, "I have a hurt head".

Thanks for the reply Keith. I'm still branching out into other resources for learning Japanese in my spare time. I've mostly only used Duo-Lingo, but given it's lack of more formally taught sections, there are still a lot of areas, even in the basics, where I'm shaky. Comments & feedback like yours are super helpful.

Also, these were 2 links I looked at that helped me with this question: http://www.punipunijapan.com/japanese-grammar-adjectives/ https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Japanese/Existence_and_Copula


Hey Ben, knowing how to google around is the first step of self-learning. Great job, keep it up!

And yes for a different copula when dealing with nouns, i-adjectives, na-adjectives and verbs. Just one thing that, unlike nouns and na-adjectives, we do not use だ with i-adjectives. So either いたいです (polite form) or いたい (colloquial form).

And 痛い頭があります is grammatically correct but nobody says it. It translates to "There is a painful head" which is equally unnatural in English. A better sentence will be 頭痛(ずつう)がします (I have a headache.)


I few years ago I was in Japan and used "itakunai". I was corrected, being told that I should use the verb form. So I was surprised to see it stated this way here.




I don't have a headache - is also correct.

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