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Polite negative of nouns and adjectives

#1
So in spoken language there's a choice between the ありません and ないです versions.

Tae Kim favours the ないです versions in all 4 cases:
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/polite
Quote:The reality of today’s Japanese is that what’s supposed to be the “official” conjugation sounds rather stiff and formal. In normal everyday conversations, the conjugation presented here will be used almost every time. While you should use the more formal conjugations for written works using the polite form, you’ll rarely hear it in actual speech.
Is he right about that? I guess I might start noticing more, now that I've thought about it!

Recently I've been studying from "Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication", which uses ないです in some of the examples for i-adjectives, but always uses ありません for nouns - so is there some difference there?

Another thing I found:
https://japanese.stackexchange.com/quest...B%E3%82%93
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#2
Hmm. I often hear things about what Japanese people "really say" these days and often they are contradictory. I think the truth in most cases is that it depends upon which Japanese people you mean. Different regions, age groups, social situations etc.

Broadly, both (では) ありません and (では) ないです are used I would say that ではないです is very slightly the more casual, but these are delicate assessments as I have suggested.

Using the contraction じゃ for では is something that some people might find over-casual for a very formal context but again I think it depends on who you ask and what circles they move in. It is very similar in English, I think. If you ask people what is considered polite/acceptable/unacceptable/too old-fashioned, you get a wide variety of answers depending on who you are asking and what their circle does.

(では) ないです follows the standard pattern of adding a grammatically meaningless です to い-adjectives (which is essentially what ない - and the 未然形 [あ-stem] of verbs with the helper-ない attached - are) to make them formal.

Some Japanese grammar purists dislike this usage (in all cases, not just ない) and see it as a relatively recent and essentially ungrammatical aberration. However it is firmly established in the language and regarded as a standard usage by everyone (albeit with regret in a few cases).


PS Personally if I am being formal I normally say (では) ありません。
Edited: 2017-12-31, 3:13 pm
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#3
(2017-12-31, 11:42 am)HelenF Wrote: So in spoken language there's a choice between the ありません and ないです versions.

Tae Kim favours the ないです versions in all 4 cases:
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/polite
Quote:The reality of today’s Japanese is that what’s supposed to be the “official” conjugation sounds rather stiff and formal. In normal everyday conversations, the conjugation presented here will be used almost every time. While you should use the more formal conjugations for written works using the polite form, you’ll rarely hear it in actual speech.
Is he right about that? I guess I might start noticing more, now that I've thought about it!

Recently I've been studying from "Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication", which uses ないです in some of the examples for i-adjectives, but always uses ありません for nouns - so is there some difference there?

Another thing I found:
https://japanese.stackexchange.com/quest...B%E3%82%93
This is why I like having a native Japanese tutor at my disposal for one off questions.  I don't meet with him for in-person tutorial sessions anymore but for a modest fee I ask him questions by email now and then.  A question like yours I would ask my tutor.  Like I always say, nothing beats being a native speaker of a language.  Tae Kim is not a native speaker of Japanese.

I guess what I'm saying to you is you might want to find a native Japanese person to whom you could pose questions like this.
Edited: 2017-12-31, 6:59 pm
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JapanesePod101
#4
Thanks for the link to the stackexchange posting; the academic paper summary in the first answer was interesting (that ~masen feels like a firmer denial, where ~nai desu is softer).

In general I dunno that here is a great place to get solid answers to questions that boil down to subtleties of nuance, just because of the nature of the audience here -- we're all learning too, pretty much.
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#5
(2017-12-31, 7:12 pm)pm215 Wrote: Thanks for the link to the stackexchange posting; the academic paper summary in the first answer was interesting (that ~masen feels like a firmer denial, where ~nai desu is softer).

In general I dunno that here is a great place to get solid answers to questions that boil down to subtleties of nuance, just because of the nature of the audience here -- we're all learning too, pretty much.

I took a look at the website--it says that "anyone can answer" the questions.  Therein lies the problem:  the answer could be from a Japanese scholar, or it could be from the Three Stooges.

Here's another resource that I use frequently (I was blessed with the good fortune of getting a .pdf copy of this too, in addition to the one I purchased.  A text-searchable copy is a godsend):

"A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns"

https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Japanese...d+learners
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#6
You'll notice I didn't say j.se was a better place to ask!
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#7
(2017-12-31, 7:32 pm)phil321 Wrote: Here's another resource that I use frequently (I was blessed with the good fortune of getting a .pdf copy of this too, in addition to the one I purchased.  A text-searchable copy is a godsend):

"A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns"

https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Japanese...d+learners

Oh, how can one obtain a .pdf version? I do have physical copy, but manual searching is annoying. Is there digital version for sale somewhere?
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#8
I have seen many good explanations of subtle points on this forum. If this distinction is really too subtle for this forum, then I can conclude that it doesn't matter at my level Wink

Thanks CureDolly, that helps!
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#9
I'm not sure about the です part but I definitely hear ない more often than ありません
しょうがない・とんでもない・間違いない・大したことない・問題ない・おいしくない・行きたくない・食べたくない
Their ありません counterpart sound alien to me, though they're all correct.
And I don't think there's a special rule for nouns. Maybe you can provide some exemple sentences from your book?

That said, I found a kind of interesting and insightful post for cases where you cannot use ないです.
Rougly saying that it depends on the two usages of the ます form (habit/future)
Exemples given are self-explanatory.

To add more confusion to the mess, I also found that post.
The first contributor seems to favour ありません, saying that ないです is too direct of an expression and lack considerations.
Stating that  ありません is the negative form of a proper 敬語, while ないです is "kind of a hack", a negative declaration with "poor" 敬語 sticked to its butt.
On the other hand, if you look at the last link given by the third contributor,
there's a study stating that ないです is softer on the denial than ません, based on words order (what comes at the end is stressed). ないです ends with です so it stresses the politeness, thus softening the negation, while ません stresses the negation and formality (it doesn't make ないです more polite than ません though).
It also states that ないです is used 3 times more often than ません based on their inquiry, which confirms Tae Kim's preference.
(Note that I might have misunderstood things here and there, so you'd better check for yourself)

EDIT: The study is exactly the same as your stackexchange link, so you can skip that part ^^;
Edited: 2018-01-01, 6:23 pm
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#10
Ah, so in some cases it's possible to use ないです with other verbs. Seems like that's not so common though?

I was mainly thinking about "_ is not _" and "_ was not _" statements.

The JSPEC sentences start with things like その書類は必要ではありません。地下鉄の駅は遠くありません。ビル(さん)の成績はよくない(です)。

(2018-01-01, 6:20 pm)pied2porc Wrote: しょうがない・とんでもない・間違いない・大したことない・問題ない・おいしくない・行きたくない・食べたくない
Their ありません counterpart sound alien to me, though they're all correct.
Hmm, I see what you mean there. While I'm really not at a level to be making statements about what sounds natural... My feeling is the first 3 are set phrases, and maybe you're less likely to say the last 3 if you're trying to be polite. 問題ありません feels familiar, though that could be from eccentric fictional characters!
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#11
(2018-01-02, 12:27 pm)HelenF Wrote: Ah, so in some cases it's possible to use ないです with other verbs. Seems like that's not so common though?
Actually ないです is much more common than ありません in spoken language.
Based on the academic paper, they recorded 254 uses of ないです, against 84 for ありません just for verbs in the ます form. For nouns, i-adj and na-adj it's even more (180 against 1).
They conducted their research on two popular TV shows 笑っていいとも and おしゃれイズム aimed at two different kind of publics, so different style of speeches.


The source of the discord is just about the non-offical use of ない+です as a polite form, which some (a few?) people frown at. While on the other hand i-adj+です has been officially accepted post-WWII.
But if you go by the numbers, ないです is the most widely used.

Personally, I also feel that ありません adds an extra layer of formality and stiffness that is sometimes unecessary.
So what Tae Kim advises doesn't sound exaggerated to me.
Usually, you go to japan as a foreigner, and as a customer there is no need to be formal. Being polite is enough most of the time. So ないです is safe to use in most situations, imo.

I also think that the "correctness" of ないです or the preference for ありません is an unecessary debate.
If I take the following exemples おいしくない・行きたくない・食べたくない. I don't think that either です or ありません make those sentences more "polite". Both forms are rude and direct. If I don't want to go somewhere or eat something I would just try to express it differently. Maybe すみませんけど、用事があります or 苦手です.
So my advice if you want to be safe, would be to just wait a few years for those じじ's who disagree with the usage of ないです, to pass away so that ないです becomes an offical polite form before using it....

EDIT: as a side note のです and です are treated differently.
おいしくないんです is officially correct grammar but おいしくないです is not...which makes the whole debate even more ridiculous...
Edited: 2018-01-02, 6:09 pm
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#12
(2018-01-02, 6:03 pm)pied2porc Wrote: Actually ないです is much more common than ありません in spoken language.
Based on the academic paper, they recorded 254 uses of ないです, against 84 for ありません just for verbs in the ます form. For nouns, i-adj and na-adj it's even more (180 against 1).
They conducted their research on two popular TV shows 笑っていいとも and おしゃれイズム aimed at two different kind of publics, so different style of speeches.
I see, I misunderstood about that. So ありません is actually rare for nouns and adjectives on those two TV shows.

The other link said that ないです isn't always allowed for verbs - did the researchers mention that? I wonder how many of the 84 were required.

Quote:If I take the following exemples おいしくない・行きたくない・食べたくない. I don't think that either です or ありません make those sentences more "polite". Both forms are rude and direct. If I don't want to go somewhere or eat something I would just try to express it differently. Maybe すみませんけど、用事があります or 苦手です.
That's what I thought.
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#13
I would say that ないです is at least five times more common in speech than ありません, maybe more.
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#14
(2018-01-03, 1:58 pm)HelenF Wrote: So ありません is actually rare for nouns and adjectives on those two TV shows.
Yup, you can extrapolate for any casual conversation (自然談話).
If those numbers had been taken from anime, news or any political debates, they would have been meaningless.

Quote:The other link said that ないです isn't always allowed for verbs - did the researchers mention that?

ないです is always allowed for verbs, it just might have a nuance in meaning with ません.
ないです seems more appropriate to express habits or states:
タバコを吸わないです。I don't smoke.
as opposed to ません which comes more naturally to express future action:
もうタバコは吸いません。 I quit smoking.
And no it's not mentioned in the research. Everything they said about the nuances between ないです and ません has been mentionned in the link you provided. And yes, those are all non-offical statements, so season them well to your taste.
Edited: 2018-01-04, 11:26 am
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#15
I see, thanks for explaining!

Looks like the research paper doesn't quote all the sentences they used, only a few examples, so it would be necessary to collect a load more to draw any more conclusions.

I wonder whether to change my JSPEC cards to ないです (at least the noun/adjective ones). When speaking it's best if the form I want to use comes to mind first; it should be easy enough to convert back when writing.
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#16
I agree not to rush to conlusions.
Don't know if that can help, but maybe you can watch a few japanese street interviews and see for yourself, so you can draw your own conclusion. There are plenty on youtube.
I wouldn't bother correcting cards though...sounds too bothersome to me :-p you can use both anyway
But if you feel uneasy with that...just do whatever works for you.

Maybe one thing you should also consider, aside from personal preference, or situational nuances, is the fact that ない is a plain form, and as such it gives more freedom in speech. You can either end you sentence or make it a subordinate clause or whatever idea comes to mind. ありません is less forgivable, and stiffer in that sense...when using that form you pretty much have to end your sentence.

Anyway good luck with your study.
Edited: 2018-01-08, 5:16 pm
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#17
Thanks! So far it seems what Tae Kim said is well-supported, but the info at https://www.nihongo-books.com/desu-masu/masen-naidesu/ is just one person's opinion.

(2018-01-08, 1:27 pm)pied2porc Wrote: Don't know if that can help, but maybe you can watch a few japanese street interviews and see for yourself, so you can draw your own conclusion. There are plenty on youtube.
Any keywords or channels you can recommend for that sort of thing? Not just for this topic, but there's a big gap in my input here.

Quote:Maybe one thing you should also consider, aside from personal preference, or situational nuances, is the fact that ない is a plain form, and as such it gives more freedom in speech. You can either end you sentence or make it a subordinate clause or whatever idea comes to mind. ありません is less forgivable, and stiffer in that sense...when using that form you pretty much have to end your sentence.
Do you mean like extending a sentence if you hadn't quite decided what you were going to say?
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#18
(2018-01-09, 2:56 pm)HelenF Wrote: but there's a big gap in my input here.
why is that, are you living in China? : )
You can try those channels Asian Boss, That Japanese Man Yuta, Ask Japanese or use the keyword 街頭インタビュー

Quote:Do you mean like extending a sentence if you hadn't quite decided what you were going to say?
Yes, that's it! that's exactly what I said, right? :p Thanks for translating into proper english! グッド!
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#19
Cool, I'll check those out.

I live in the UK, but in Japanese I've mostly been listening to stuff made for learners, anime and audiobooks.
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#20
(2018-01-02, 6:03 pm)pied2porc Wrote: EDIT: as a side note のです and です are treated differently.
おいしくないんです is officially correct grammar but おいしくないです is not...which makes the whole debate even more ridiculous...


This isn't actually ridiculous because while they sound similar, the grammar of the two sentences is completely different.

In おいしくないです the 述語 (predicate) is おいしくない and the です is grammatically redundant.

However in おいしくないんです the 述語 is のです and the です is a necessary part of the predicate.

The structure of のです/んです endings is explained more fully (in English) in my video here:

https://youtu.be/lYvIOi8Q3I8
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#21
Yes, you're right. I disregarded that point.
I should have just said that while they are similar, one is accepted and the other not (officialy).
The です of のです is mendatory for the sentence structure and works like a copula, while the debatable です is 'just' a politeness marker. The rest is just a personal appreciation.
Thanks for pointing that out.
Edited: 2018-01-15, 12:53 pm
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#22
(2018-01-02, 6:03 pm)pied2porc Wrote: EDIT: as a side note のです and です are treated differently.
おいしくないんです is officially correct grammar but おいしくないです is not...which makes the whole debate even more ridiculous...

I don't get it :S Where is おいしくないです not "officially correct grammar"? I get that the です is just a politeness suffix in this case, but does that make it incorrect? Huhh
Edited: 2018-01-17, 7:33 am
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#23
I watched some interviews, and came across a bunch of these all together in the first question here:


しゃべりません x 1
しゃべれません x 2
しゃべれないです x 2
(I can't make out what the 4th person is saying.)
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#24
(2018-01-17, 7:33 am)sumsum Wrote:
(2018-01-02, 6:03 pm)pied2porc Wrote: EDIT: as a side note のです and です are treated differently.
おいしくないんです is officially correct grammar but おいしくないです is not...which makes the whole debate even more ridiculous...

I don't get it :S Where is おいしくないです not "officially correct grammar"?
At the Japanese Language Council maybe?

Quote:I get that the です is just a politeness suffix in this case, but does that make it incorrect? Huhh
If I want to put it simply, yes (as far as I understand). But 'incorrect' is maybe not the right word.
Being non-offical doesn't necessarily means that it is incorrect. It just means it has yet to be approved by the government.
I'd rather say 'inapproriate'. ないです can be inappropriate when formality is required, like in a working environment or during a speech. But some japanese people also find its usage inappropriate in spoken language. They usually don't say it is incorrect, they rather use the word 違和感. You can find them on chiebukuro. I recall someone using words like 正しい and 間違っています to refer to ありません and ないです. But they never really explain why it makes their ears bleed.
Also based on one of the link above, some textbooks don't even teach the form ないです.
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#25
(2018-01-17, 12:22 pm)HelenF Wrote: I watched some interviews, and came across a bunch of these all together in the first question here:


しゃべりません x 1
しゃべれません x 2
しゃべれないです x 2
(I can't make out what the 4th person is saying.)


If you're talking about the girl on the left with the white shirt and the backpack:
あんまり得意じゃないで... or could be
あんまり得意じゃないで...not sure.
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