Difference between おいしくない ピザ and おいしい ピザじゃない

What is the difference between おいしくない ピザ and おいしい ピザじゃない?
Is it that in the first example it is not delicious and in the second example it is not pizza?
Thank you for your help.

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No, the second example too can be the not delicious pizza.
The first example is not a complete sentence. It’s a noun phrase
You can’t just use it on its own, you have to add a verb or something like that.
For example, 美味しくないピザを食べたくない – I don’t want to eat a not delicious pizza.

The second one, however, is a complete sentence
(このピザは)美味しいピザじゃない – (This pizza is) not a delicious pizza.
I’m sure, others would explain much better than me, but until they arrive, this is at least something.


Obviously I’m also still learning but from my understanding:

1st sentence: it’s not delicious, this pizza
2nd sentence: it’s not a delicious pizza

There’s a very small difference in that at least おいしくないピザ specifies it’s actually a pizza - with おいしいピザじゃない you could also be saying it wasn’t a pizza at all.

Other than that, nothing to add to this. Listen to the cat :point_up:


I’m relatively new to noun phrases and adjective conjugation in general, but in general I think you can’t conjugate an adjective + noun alone, you need a subject and a verb. If the noun is the subject you need the second structure, otherwise you can use the first or other structures.

おいしくない ピザ requires a subject (“not a delicious pizza” - what?). You can’t say 美味しくないピザです because pizza would be the subject - so something like ピザは美味しくないです would be grammatical.

Note that the second sentence makes confusion because じゃない is both the negation of だ (informal copula) and the negative present form of な-adjectives. However 美味しい is an い-adjective. Still, there is a difference between saying “an unclean house” (きれいじゃない家) and “the house is unclean” (家はきれいじゃないだ).

“Tonio’s pizzeria makes distasteful pizzas” → “トニオのピッツェリアは美味しくないピザ作ります。” Although I guess you could use 作りません + positive adjective form.

If my grammar understanding is correct you can mix adjective and verb polarity (e.g.美味しくないです and not おいしくないではありません).

I think there’s a difference in nuance? おいしくないピザ is more direct than おいしいピザじゃない, which would make the おいしいピザじゃない sound less definitive, more polite and therefore more japanese like? But they essentially both mean it’s a bad pizza

I think realistically if you’re looking to express a pizza wasn’t delicious you’d say ピザはおいしくなかった or something of the sort anyway. But it’s all very much out of context in a language that’s heavily context-dependent, so it’s a bit hard to give a general answer.


Yeah, you really can’t in this case.

Very short phrases in japanese can get terribly freaking ambiguous without context so its not some straightforward answer. If we’re specifically talking about calling a pizza not good tasting, however,

Doesn’t sound natural and probably wouldn’t be used in authentic japanese. おいしいピザじゃない definitely could be used for other things, but would require specific context and wouldn’t be said by someone who just ate a piece of pizza and was giving their thoughts on it.

In reality, this is not the case and the two fragments (idk if thats the correct term) are definitely far from equivalent. Its not a matter of nuance and more like meaning entirely. On paper you could argue they overlap…because technically they do…but thats more of a textbook approach rather than a practicality based one and only covers one usage of the fragment.

Context is king, but even taking them both as they are:

Are by no means equivalent for reasons pointed out.

My true thoughts, however, are that if this doesn’t make sense…just don’t worry about it. Stuff like this will clear up as you see how certain thoughts are actually expressed in practice.


I didn’t mean to say they are equivalent for stating “it’s a bad pizza” by someone who just ate pizza, since there’s no trace of that context in the OP. If you take either of them out of context, I’d say they mean the same thing. You are talking about a bad pizza, either as a statement, or inside other sentences, or whatever. Except おいしいピザじゃない sounds less direct because you talk about what the pizza is not, rather than defining what the pizza is. Unless you mean that japanese people never ever say anything structured like おいしくないピザ or おいしいピザじゃない. (not a rhetorical question, I don’t have much exposure to native japanese)

おいしくない ピザ - ‘undelicious’ pizza (You’re saying the pizza is bad tasting, essentially)
おいしい ピザじゃない - [This] isn’t delicious pizza (A negative statement that could unclear depending on context. What is it then? Delicious pizza toast? so-so or bad tasting pizza?)

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Not quite right, since there’s no verb in the first one.
It would be more like ‘not delicious pizza’

I’d say it’s really just the same as “yucky pizza” vs “(That) isn’t a tasty pizza” in English. We don’t really say “untasty” in English so I swapped it for “yucky” but that’s the basic idea. 美味しくないピザ is “A pizza that isn’t tasty” (a sentence fragment), whereas 美味しいピザじゃない is “(That) isn’t a tasty pizza.” (Complete sentence) A third way to express it would be このピザは美味しくない which would be more like “This pizza isn’t tasty.”

If you wanted to say “this delicious food isn’t a pizza”, that’d be more like この美味しい食べ物はピザじゃない

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Yeah, the latter wouldnt which is what I was getting at. The only time I could see it really being used was like if someone said there was 美味しいピザ at some place they recommended, and then you and your buddy went there and it was bad and were kinda recalling what your friend said. Even in that case, there are probably other things more likely to be said.

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Well, thanks a lot, everybody. Very interesting ideas.