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Negative Form in Japanese

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

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こんにちは, everyone! Welcome back to Teach Me Japanese.

Yesterday we talked about past-tense in Japanese, and in that lesson there were some examples of changing negative form into negative past form. In case you were confused, don't worry. We will be teaching you negative form today.





Negative form basically means that something is not ~




--------->I am not a child



--------->That is not George's car

*If you want to learn about possessive particle の, check out our lesson here*


--->This is not coffee.



--------->He is not a doctor.

じゃ and では mean the same, but じゃ is more colloquial than では. ありません and ないです are both polite, but ありません is more acceptable in the written form.

This also works for making な-adjectives negative:



--------->The room is not clean.



---------->Today's lesson isn't simple

But what about making い-adjectives negative?




Making い-adjectives negative involves replacing the with , followed by ありません or ないです:



---------->I am not sad.



---------->This sentence is not right.


Verbs- ~ません・~ないです


We discussed negative form of verbs when we taught you how to conjugate ます form, but we will also include that information here (including how to make them negative using ないです)


Ru-verbs are the easiest to conjugate. To change a ru-verb such as たべる into negative form, you simply get rid of る and add ません/ないです. Like so:

  • たべる becomes たべません/たべないです

  • ねる becomes ねません/ねないです

  • みる becomes みません/みないです

and so on, for all ru-verbs.


If you remember the hiragana chart, you'll know that most japanese sounds follow an あ、い、う、え、お format. This is very important for conjugating verbs in Japanese, especially u-verbs.

That is because u-verbs conjugate to negative form by changing the sound of the last character from an う sound to an い sound, and then adding ません or changing from an う sound to an あ sound and adding ないです.

For example:

  • かう becomes かい, then かいません OR かわ, then かわないです*only う is different, instead of あ you change it to わ*

  • かく becomes かき, then かきません OR かか, then かかないです

  • のむ becomes のみ, then のみません OR のま, then のまないです

and so on, for all u-verbs.

3)Suru Verbs

The rule for suru verbs is sort of like a mix of the rules for ru-verbs and u-verbs. You get rid of る, but then you change the う sound of す to an い sound(し) before adding ません or ないです. Like this:

  • べんきょうする becomes べんきょうし, then べんきょうしません/べんきょうしないです

  • ゲームする becomes ゲームし, then ゲームしません/ゲームしないです

  • しごとする becomes しごとし, then しごとしません/しごとしないです

4)Irregular Verbs

Irregular verbs are irregular because they make their own rules. There are only a few of them in Japanese, but the most important are する and くる. You have to memorize how to conjugate them separately. する is conjugated in the same exact way as する verbs (yay!), so you just get rid of る and change す to し, then add ません/ないです:

  • する becomes しません/しないです

くる is made negative by ditching る and changing く to き, then adding ません, or く to こ, then adding ないです:

  • くる becomes きません/こないです


And that's about it for today. What did you think about today's lesson? Leave any questions or comments below and check out our resources tab for even more fun ways to learn Japanese.

As always, がんばってね!


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