Example sentence trouble

I’m struggling to understand an example sentence from Tae Kim’s guide.The sentence is the following:

先生だと、きっと年上なんじゃないですか。And is translated to: If he’s a teacher, he must be older for sure right?

now presumably なんじゃない is just なのじゃない。What I am failing to understand is why the の is conjugated to it’s negative form. My literal of reading this would go something like: if he’s a teacher, for sure not the event of being older right? Basically the opposite meaning. Why am I wrong?

I would translate that something like: If he’s a teacher, he’s definitely older, isn’t he?

The “isn’t he” at the end covers the negative you ask about. That’s how it works.

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ん is a shortening of の, and not a negative conjugation. It’s function (combined with な) is just to add more emphasis.

You missed the point of the question. He understood the ん and の connection and asked about the negative じゃない construction at the end of the sentence.

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ok I think I get it. I was thinking 年上 was a na adjective that applied to の but they’re actually two things since it’s in fact a noun.

Now I’m just somewhat unsure of why the na is there at all but I guess it doesn’t really have a gramatical function here and is just for emphasis?

“What I am failing to understand is why the の is conjugated to it’s negative form.”

The なんじゃないですか is a just a rhetorical.

“If he’s a teacher, he must be older, no?”

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If you use の like that mid-sentence for emphasis, you must have a な before it.

ok this would just be the “explanatory” の that is also detailed in the guide am I correct?

Yep! Here’s some more reading: verbs - What exactly is "なの" (nano)? - Japanese Language Stack Exchange

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Correction: you only need the な if you have a noun or な adjective before の/ん.

I’m going to basically repeat what @mrsaturn said about it being rhetorical, but with a different way of explaining it in case it helps.

I think this grammar structure works similarly to asking questions with negatives in English. For example, “aren’t you tired?” is still asking if you are tired, just with some nuanced difference in that you are implying that you expect them to be tired.

A more literal translation of the sentence might be “if he’s a teacher, isn’t he surely older?”. Now, “surely” and the negative “isn’t” don’t go well together in English, so maybe you prefer @mrsaturn’s version, but I think the literal translation can sometimes help. Either way, I think the nuance is the same in that you are asking someone if they think the teacher is older, while implying that you think they are.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I said.

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