Basic grammar/translation question

Hi everybody! I had two questions regarding the following construction:


  1. I incorrectly translated this in my head as “such rare things do not exist here” or “such rare things are not here”, whereas the correct translation is more like “it’s not unusual / not so rare”. So my question is: why doesn’t ではありません mean “does not exist” here?

  2. If you wanted to say “Such rare things do not exist” or “Such rare things cannot be found here”… or something along these lines, how would you say that – in a way that most closely resembles the above construction?

Thanks a bunch!

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Because it’s the negative copula, “does not exist” or something along the lines would just be ありません.

ではない/ではありません is just the negative form of です (linguistically there’s more going on of course, but this is basically all you need to worry about).

Does it help to frame the sentence as そう珍しいものじゃない?

It’s also worth noting そう doesn’t function the way you seem to think it does - it’s basically the same as それは or そういうことは here.

I was wrong:

If you want it to qualify another noun (in a “… like that” kind of way) you use そんな. そう just means something along the lines of “that” or “like that” and refers back to something mentioned earlier or something contextual.

I’d say そんな珍しいものはありません


Thanks, yamitenshi. I think the politeness levels are not the problem, so let’s ignore them for the moment.

Based on your answer and example, I think I was mixing up the following two different things:

is / isn’t → です / ではありません


there is / there isn’t → あります / ありません

The first one here applies to a quality (is rare → is not rare) and just negates it, whereas the second would really mean something doesn’t exist, as you wrote in your last sentence.

Am I interpreting what you said correctly?


More or less, yes. There are bound to be cases where that distinction doesn’t quite apply in that way, but covering every base would go into a whole essay on です and ある/いる and copulas and what not :smile:

But yes, in this case です/ではありません would ascribe the quality of being or not being a 珍しいもの to something, whereas ある/ありません would refer to the 珍しいもの either existing/being somewhere or not existing/being somewhere.


This is wrong. Its like そんなに with less specifity.


I stand corrected! I’ve amended my answer :slight_smile:


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