Several ways to say no in Japanese

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In Japan saying no can be complicated. The Japanese rarely use the word “no” directly to refuse or deny something to someone. They prefer to give an indirect answer rather than refuse with a simple no. The Japanese value harmony at all costs, which makes it difficult to use certain words. In this article, we'll look at several ways to say not In japanese.

Most should know that the main word used to say not, It's iie (いいえ). There is also the word nai (ない) that is usually added at the end of verbs as negative. These are common words that are often used, but the Japanese do not usually deny or refuse things using those words.

Some Japanese in the difficulty of answering some questions end up using the expression chotto (ちょっと) which means something like “wait a little” or “a moment”. Some already understand it as a way of trying to say no, especially if it is about questions like: Do you want to go somewhere tomorrow? What do you think of doing something?

Several ways to say no in Japanese

In other words, if someone says that they will think about the subject or things like that, possibly he wanted to say no but he is ashamed. Expressions like kento sasete kudasai (I will consider) or kangaeteokimasu (I will think) can be vital words.

Even when denying a request, the Japanese use yes to say no. Example: How would you answer the question: Can't you come today? Some would respond - No i can't. The Japanese would respond yes i can't.

Iya [いや] and negative justification

When asking a question in Japanese, even if the answer is no, it is unlikely that a Japanese person will use the expression iie [いいえ]. It is very likely that he uses nai [ない] or not even that.

Often Japanese will respond with sounds, and then justify it with a negative sentence with a verb ending in “masen” [ません]. These sounds before the answer can usually be:

  • いや;
  • ああ;
  • あ;
  • や;
  • いえ;

In real life, “iya” [いや] is the most common way of saying no in Japanese. Its use is usually complemented by the negative sentence or sometimes by a “nai desu” [ないです].

The big problem is that [いや] can also be used in an affirmative sentence, which can confuse some people. In some situations it is used to represent surprise or exclamation.

If he is a merchant, he can also use a shorter version of “iie” [いいえ], just saying “ie” [いえ]. The term [いいえ] is most often used as “you're welcome”, or “it was nothing but a simple no.

Ways to say no in Japanese

Other alternatives to saying no directly are:

  • Dame (ダメ) - It is not good, it cannot, wrong, prohibited;
  • Dekinai (出来ない) - I can't, I can't (do);
  • Muri (無理) - Impossible, irrational, unjustifiable;

The words below are not necessarily denials, but can be used to deny or refuse requests as a no:

  • Chigau (違う) - Different, it is not that, differ;
  • Kekkou desu (結構です) - No thanks;
  • Kibishii (厳しい) - Difficult, rigorous, intense (conditions);
  • Ikemasen (行けません) - I can't (go);
  • Taihen (大変) - very difficult, terribly, immense, serious, problem;
  • Iya (嫌) unpleasant, reluctant;
  • Moushiwakenai (申し訳ない) I'm sorry, I'm sorry;
  • Bimyou (微妙) - difficult, delicate, complicated situation;
  • Isogashii (忙しい) - Very busy;

There is also the confusing uun (ううん). This expression can be used to say no or deny something, but at the same time, depending on the way you speak, the uun it can be a yes or confirmation of something.

Several ways to say no in Japanese
How to say no to Monika? (Doki Doki Literature Club)

Saying no the right way

If someone invites you to do something you can easily use the expressions isogashii, ikemasen or dekinai. If someone asks or suggests something embarrassing, or impossible, you can respond. muri, dame, kekkou desu and taihen. Just see the essence and meaning of the word to know how to use it correctly.

Some of these words will only make sense if you use them in context or sentence. Remember to always use expressions like excuses (ごめんなさい) and thanks (ありがとう) on several occasions for refusing anything. You can quote something positive about the order and use a “but” (だけど).

The word dekinai which means cannot, usually shows the speaker's regret because circumstances did not allow otherwise. Words like Moushiwakenai and Isogashii are formal and are often used a lot at work. If you're really busy, it's unlikely that the person will invite you to another day or something.

Those were some of the ways to deny and say no in Japanese without using the word. I hope you enjoyed this short article. We appreciate the shares and comments. We also recommend reading:

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