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  5. "No, I am not Japanese."

"No, I am not Japanese."


March 1, 2018



いいえ、わたしは日本人ではありません。 Should be accepted as well. It's not elegant, but it's not wrong either.


This is more precise, though both sentences are correct in terms of context.


Youre, right both are correct. Though in more non-written conversation word deletion often comes into play because it is already implied youre talking about yourself. But always in good practice to keep 私


When is 私 legitimately required? I've missed a question once for not using it.


Its required when you are talking to more than one person. The use of 私 is used when you need to point out that you are talking about yourself.


'watashi'is usually written as a kanji


What is wrong


です = is/am/are/will be ではありません = isn't/am not/aren't/won't be Verbs go at the end of a sentence in Japanese.


Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Desu also used to say "It is said" such as with "Tanaka-san wa nihon jin desu" which from my current understanding would mean literally Tanaka sir japanese it is said"


です is a "confirmation" to the previous statement, while ではありません is to deny. If you didn't include this phrase, others would not know if the statment is yes or no (but could still be assumed with your tone and body/face expression). For example in your case, if I said 田中さんは日本人ではありません, then Mr. Tanaka IS NOT a Japanese.

This could also be used to trick someone into believing something is true at first, then instantly deny it to make fun of a situation.

Please also not that ではありません is a very strong and firm denial that one is very sure about it. In spoken Japanese, じゃない(です) is more common because it's less firm. It feels like "nah" or "nope" in english. People also think that is more polite though informal.


Thank you! I like idea about pulling the switcharoo ;] Also I hear じゃない very often, so this is very helpful to know


です is not a confirmation of a statement. It's just a way to construct a predicate out of a noun or a noun phrase.


I think it depends of the context. and they word it differently so its "mr tanaka is japanese." so even です could be used to talk about someone else.


That would just mean "Tanaka san is Japanese"


です has nothing to do with the verb "to be".


What's the でfor?


Somebody please answer I want to know


ではありません is the negation of です.

日本人です。= I AM Japanese.

日本人ではありません = I AM NOT Japanese.


That's right... Just complementing, in japanese language we will often see verbs that has its positive and negative versions. The "mase" phoneme is the most usual in this cases.


ではありません is not a negation of です. Copula です is a polite form of だ and does not have a negative form. で in ではありません is a gerund of だ, then follows particle は, and finally the polite negation of ある.


で in ではありません is a gerund of だ

でありまして is the gerund of であります
であって is the gerund of である
でして is the gerund of です
だって is the gerund of だ
にて is the gerund of に
で is just a contracted form of に+て

だ is a contracted form of で+ある
あった is the past form of ある
あって is the gerund of ある

あった = あり+た
あって = あり+て

だった = で+あった
だって = で+あって

だった is the past form of だ, right?
だって is the gerund of だ.

(I might just be joking around though... I simply wanted to try upping the pedanticness to the nth degree. Ignore me.) :P


Haha, I could see that one coming. I didn't want to spoil the pattern of the first few lines of my post... XD

I guess I should have started with this:

まして is the gerund of the ます auxiliary verb

でありまして is just the following three (or five) things used one after the other:

  • で, the gerund of に, contracted form
  • あり, the 連用形 of ある
  • まして, the gerund of ます

でございまして is just the following four (or seven) things used one after the...

Oops, I'm getting carried away again. :D


Great, we are making progress! :)

Btw, I like and support your post below where you explained ありません. It's nice to see here not a pseudo-expert.


I can up it even further.

でありまして is the gerund of であります

Wrong. で is a part of the previous predicate.


で is a conjugation of だ, which makes a sentence conclusive,

は is topic marker,

あり is a conjugation of ある(formal "be"),

ませ is a conjugation of ます(honorific),

ん is a negation.



で is a gerund of copula だ. A negative sentence consists of two predicates. The first one is "X+で", which is the same as "X+です" only in gerund form. The second one is ありません, which means "is not". They are connected by a particle は, which is common for negative sentences.


What about: いいえ、日本人じゃないです。Would that not be right, also?


I think that じゃない is more informal, in Japanese courses you will always learn at first the formal speech, then the informal


I thought ません was its own word or ending that negates things, but then I see people that the whole thing, ではありません, is the negation of です, I just want a more in depth explanation


is there a more casual/short way of saying "でわありません"? It just seems long and i know that often there are differences between what is taught in language lessons and what is commonly used between friends or peers in japanese

  • 685

First of all, it's written でありません (は, when used as a particle, is pronounced "wa").

The casual form of ではありません is じゃない.


What does "de" do in the sentence? Is it a particle?


its apart of the 'desu' negative conjugation


Can someone break this down for me a bit? I know that 'ありません' is a word unto itself; I remember that much when I took two quarters of Japanese in the 90s (before I had to change schools to one that didn't offer it as a course), but the 'では' part confuses me a smidge.

I get the rest, but that bit is a little strange to me.


so dewa, is apart of the negative 'desu' conjugation. when you want to make a sentence negative when it has a です at the end, you would wanna use では and then arimasen


Re-reading this, I think I get what you're saying, now.

I gross layman's terms, you're saying that "dewa" means 'is' the same way "desu" does, while "arimasen" means 'not', and when combined, they mean 'is not'...?

I mean, it's weird that it's not 'desu arimasen', but still...if that's what each part of the sentence means, then I grok.


First, neither です nor では have anything to do with "to be". "To be" is ある, its polite negation is ありません.

You got it almost right that it should be です + ありません. And it almost is. The full break up of the construct is "Xで" + は + "ありません". "Xで" is equivalent to "Xです", it's just a gerund form of it. Then it is followed by a negation ありません. They are connected by contrastive は, because negation is contrastive by its nature.


Why not use "ません" is it impolite or just completely wrong?


Duolingo's sentence uses ません though?


ます is an auxiliary verb. This auxiliary verb simply increases the politeness/formality of whatever verb it is used on. ません is the negative form of this auxiliary verb.

ある is basically the main verb of the sentence. This verb is in its plain form. あり is the form of this verb which is used for adding auxiliary verbs to it.

あります is the polite version of the verb ある. (This is the verb ある + the auxiliary verb ます.)

ありません is the negative form of あります.

(It's a bit more complicated than this, since the sentence we're discussing actually uses a form of the copula で + the particle は + the verb ある. I'm glossing over this to make the explanation of ません a little easier to understand.)


Occasionally, Duolingo is being weird and gives me a "another correct solution" which is the exact same as I put together, the only difference being I chose a single block saying ではありません instead of piecing it together using smaller blocks (で + は + あり+ ませ + ん). While I see a point in highlighting that it's not a single word, I think it would be better to leave the "single block option" out altogether.

  • 685

Here are directions on how to submit a bug report.

FYI, there is no rhyme nor reason to how the word blocks are broken up, so we're not trying to "highlight" anything. Since Japanese doesn't feature spaces, the system randomly breaks up words in ways that are extremely nonsensical at times, but we (the contribs) have no control over that. I live in fervent hope that some day the devs will find some way to give us the power to define where words start and end.


De wa vs ja arimasen. Is the formal more casual? When do we use it?


Why is it just watashi nihonjin instead of watashi wa nihonjin?


There is no "watashi" or "watashi wa" in this sentence, at least not in the recommended translation.
Japanese rarely uses pronouns. Since you are probably answering a question that was directed towards you, then it is already implied you are talking about yourself so adding pronouns is unnecessary.
In casual speech though you can drop some particles. In later lessons you will see a few instances where は is replaced with a comma.


How about いいえ、わたしはにほんじんじゃないです ...?


です is the positive "is/am"
ではありません is the negative form "is not/are not"


The verb "to be" in X+ではありません is ある. Thus です has nothing to do with "to be". What is left from です in ではありません is で in the beginning. The full parsing is:

"X+で" + "は" + "あり+ません"

The last part is your "is not/are not". "日本人で" is the same as "日本人です", i.e. a noun predicate, only in the gerund form. "は" is contrastive, since negation is contrastive by its nature, "は" is usually present in the negative sentences.


Im still confusing, what is different between は(wa) and わ(wa)??? Why not でわありません?


は is a phrase particle, わ is an interjection typical for feminine speech (e.g. from Sailor Moon: 行くわよ). X+ではありません breaks down as: (i) "X+で", which is a noun phrase, a complete sentence about X's state of being; (ii) は is a phrase particle, emphasizing the contrast introduced by the following negative utterance; (iii) ありません is a negative of ある, "to be", i.e. "is not".

わ simply has no place here.


Thanks, very useful


I am really bothered at how this will now allow you to put 私 at the beginning....it is really wrong at how they will not allow you to do so..and say how it js wrong.


whats the difference between "nihonjin" and "nihongo". They both mean japanese right?


Former is a person, the latter is language.

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