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Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

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Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby ThePacster » Sat 03.06.2010 1:21 pm

Hello all. Another day, another lesson, another question. :)

I was going through my grammar book here and its starting to go over 「んじゃない?」or 「んじゃないですか?」 and for whatever reason its usage seems a little weird to me.

My book simply puts it as "used in informal conversation when saying what the speaker is thinking" and gives a brief example. Perhaps its simply the nuance, but I wonder what would be the difference, perhaps, between these two:

元気がないですね。何か困っていることがあるんじゃないですか。

versus

元気がないですね。何か困っていることがあるんですか。

I think it's the fact that, in my eyes, its essentially conjugated into a negative and its making me feel confused being unable to find some makeshift English parallel to compare this to. Although I admit that's not usually the best thing to do when studying Japanese. If someone could shine a little more light on the usage of 「んじゃない?」 I'd be very grateful.
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Re: Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby play_on_my_words » Sun 03.07.2010 12:02 am

Here's an article that might help you: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/gr ... nparticles
Go to the part where they start talking about the のparticle. Now the way I understood it was that when you're are using のor abbreviated んit takes on an explanatory tone. An example could be:
A:何をしているの?
B:何もないんだ。

This is my best shot at trying to explain it.

A: What are you doing?
B: I'm doing nothing. (explanatory tone)

Once again that's just an example off the top of my head.
If I have it completely wrong, I'm sorry in advance.
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Re: Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby furrykef » Sun 03.07.2010 5:02 am

Expanding upon the above post, the じゃない part functions like "Isn't it?"

何か困っていることがあるんじゃないですか。
There's something's bothering him, isn't there?

Notice that both the English and Japanese have the negation in the question: じゃない, "isn't there".

- Kef
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Re: Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby ThePacster » Tue 03.09.2010 12:11 pm

furrykef wrote:Expanding upon the above post, the じゃない part functions like "Isn't it?"

何か困っていることがあるんじゃないですか。
There's something's bothering him, isn't there?

Notice that both the English and Japanese have the negation in the question: じゃない, "isn't there".

- Kef


I understand that, sort of, but is there any real difference between asking that same question using んですか? Or is it simply nuance?
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Re: Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby NileCat » Tue 03.09.2010 2:46 pm

Hello ThePacster,

There is no difference in meaning though, the nuance somewhat differs as you thought.
"あるんじゃないですか?" would sound more sympathetic than just saying "あるんですか?" in many cases.
As furrykef-san said, that's similar to the nuance of "isn't it", isn't it? (I'm not quite sure about English)
If you are asking the question to your close friend, "あるんじゃないですか?" or "あるんじゃない?" would sound more considerate or more thoughtful. It is not a "yes or no" question. You know that your friend has a problem. So you might go on with "よかったら、話してみて。" which means "if so, tell me about it".
Of course "何か困っていることがあるんですか" can have the same meaning. But "あるんじゃないですか" would
sound more casual and kind in this context.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby chikara » Tue 03.09.2010 6:24 pm

NileCat-さん、お帰りなさい :)
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
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Re: Usage of 「~んじゃない?」

Postby ThePacster » Tue 03.09.2010 7:13 pm

Thanks guys. That helps alot. :)
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