Negative Sentences

Here are the vocabulary words for this lesson:


highschool student

college student

Writing a basic sentence in it's negative form can tend to be pretty complicated. To start off, let's take the basic sentence pattern, "_____ wa _____ desu." The first blank is where the word that's being described goes. The second blank is called the descriptive word, it describes the first word. The descriptive word can be either a noun or adjective. If the descriptive word is an adjective, it falls in to two categories. The first category is words with an extra i, like in "chiisai", "takai", "ookii", and "kiiroi". These adjectives are called i-adjectives. The second category is all other verbs, such as "kantan", "baka", "shizuka", "midori", and "kiiro". These are called na-adjectives.

Sentences with noun and na-adjective descriptive words use the same rule for being written in the negative form. "Desu" is replaced with "ja arimasen", as in the examples below:

Watashi wa koukousei ja arimasen.
I am not a highschool student.
Tesuto wa kantan ja arimasen.
The test is not easy.
Kore wa eigo ja arimasen. Nihongo desu.
This is not English. It is Japanese.

However, sentences with i-adjective descriptive words use a different rule. To make these sentences negative, the last i is removed from the descriptive word (e.g. "takai" is turned into "taka") and "ku arimasen" is added to it, as in the examples below:

Inu wa chiisaku arimasen.
The dog is not small.
Inu wa chiisaku arimasen.
The dog is not small.

An easier way to make a sentence negative is to use "ja nai desu" and "ku nai desu" instead of "ja arimasen" and "ku arimasen", although "nai" is a less polite version of "arimasen". "Desu" isn't required after "nai", it just makes the sentence sound a bit more polite.

Are wa sakana ja nai desu.
That is not fish.
Neko wa ookiku nai desu.
The cat is not large.

And lastly, if you're using a noun or a na-adjective to describe what something is not and you want an even more polite way of saying it, you can use "dewa" instead of "ja". See the example below.

This is the various ways you can write the sentence "That is not a computer.", from least polite to most polite:

Are wa konpyuta ja nai.
Are wa konpyuta ja nai desu.
Are wa konpyuta ja arimasen.
Are wa konpyuta dewa arimasen.
That is not a computer.

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