Short Grammar Questions

To me this seems just ungrammatical. Have you seen this?


Artifact of an edit. :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:


@mariodesu do you use regularly? It usually provides a very detailed breakdown for each word entry and highlights whether a word is a verb, noun, な adjective, の adjective, acts as a suffix, etc. I always found it super useful :slight_smile: .


I got it suggested already and will definitely use it! If I asked my question here is because those informations weren’t enough to clarify my doubt :pray:


Getting a little nervous about the N2 exam and I have a question about わけがない and わけではない. In principle I understand the difference between them, but I noticed that on test questions わけがない seems to be chosen more often.

In one of the grammar sections there was a reading passage about a dude suffering from a “mysterious” illness causing headaches, but no pain whatsoever elsewhere and no other symptoms (spoiler alert: It was actually him sitting too much in front of his computer all day.). There is this sentence:
I chose わけではない as the answer. I understand わけがない expresses a much stronger emotion (there is no reason for ~), but is there anything else I’m missing?

I checked HiNative and although they do give examples, it’s still not clear to me why one expression would be more correct than the other :thinking:


I would think of わけがない as “there’s no way that” and わけではない as “it’s not (necessarily) the case that”. I think there are cases where both are valid but with different nuance, but in other cases I wouldn’t expect them to be interchangeable at all. Additionally, わけがない feels like an emotional statement (e.g. disbelief) more than anything else, while わけではない sounds like a factual statement or at least refuting a previous statement with the belief that it’s not necessarily true.

Check out the example sentences on Bunpro (わけがない; わけではない) and this Maggie Sensei post with examples. The Bunpro examples for わけがない really show what I’m saying about it being emotional and expressing disbelief, while the わけではない examples show the refutation aspect since they all have two speakers involved. The Maggie Sensei page has some useful information, but I find it a bit hard to process simply because there’s so much there. Maybe it’ll be helpful to you though.

I think with the above reasoning, it should be obvious why わけがない is better for the sentence you asked about.

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert on these grammar points. My explanation is mostly based on gut feel, though I think it’s reasonably well backed up by the links I posted.)


Yeah, so so honestly :stuck_out_tongue: . I didn’t post the preceding part of the text, but after going through it again it seems like わけではない wouldn’t be suitable, because there is nothing to refute/negate. The speaker mentions how he feels his pain is becoming more frequent, but even the internal monologue provides no ground really for a simple わけではない. So at least that part is clearer, thanks!

Regarding the explanations from Maggie-sensei, in some cases where she used わけではない, I would’ve legit used わけがない for that stronger emotional statement :joy: . I guess my personal bias comes into play when it comes to those 2 grammar points.


As @seanblue said, the two phrases have different meanings. I really don’t think emotion is a fundamental factor, even if it’s true that 〜わけがない tends to sound stronger. Another way of looking at this is by understanding that わけ has another meaning, which is very similar to こと, but which – at least according to 大辞林 – refers to both a situation and its causes in a rather vague fashion. So in essence,

〜わけがない – there’s no reason for that, that doesn’t happen, that’s not possible etc. (it’s not exactly the same as 〜ことがない, but they’re pretty close when you think about it, no?)

〜わけではない – that’s not the reason, that’s not what happened, that’s not the case etc. (again, not the same as 〜ことではない, but isn’t the difference between the two こと structures fairly similar to the difference between the わけ structures?)


Hmm I honestly haven’t thought about it that way. That’s an extremely useful perspective, thanks! :slight_smile:


Not able to help with grammar but I wish you the best for the N2 exam. When are you taking it? Summer or December?

Also a short grammar question for everyone:

(the sentence continues describing what the dog did but it’s not relevant for my point)

Should I think of this sentence as:

the dog who was holding meat in his mouth


*the dog who held meat in his mouth
? Does it even make any difference for my purpose of learning Japanese?

Second question:

Is it possible to use a て-form in a descriptive clause like this?

I mean, would it be grammatical (and natural?) to say “肉をくわえていた ?

And if possible, what would the difference in nuances be?


This Summer.

For your purpose, I would say it wouldn’t matter so much at this point :slight_smile: .

The difference is that if you use the 〜て form you, as far as I understand, emphasize that the “holding” part happened in the past relative to the time of the story. if it’s 肉をくわえた犬 it’s just what the dog was doing when he was seen doing the “holding”, because the regular past tense is often used in noun clauses.

The problem maybe is that in English saying “the dog which held the meat” sounds awkward? And one would still say “holding”, because that’s what the dog was doing while someone saw it.

PS I’m not an English native speaker and I feel like translating between Japanese and English is sometimes questionable :sweat_smile: .


I get it, I had imagined something like that :ok_hand:

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Question on a grammar point of Genki exercises

(My house is in Osaka)

I thought the answer was 私の家はおおさかにあります
Now, I don’t know if this sentence is grammatical and if it is, I don’t know if the particle に fits here - I used it because the book says that with the ある verb, places take に and objects take を.
Either way, I’m wrong because the answer is
What am I missing? Doesn’t this mean “my house is Osaka?

Edit: in the Genki book there is an ‘explanation’ that only makes sense to me when the place is ここ、そこ、あそこ because it’s like saying “where is it? It is there” but it feels weird answering to “where is your house?” with “It is Osaka”.
Is there any logical explanation or I will just have to accept it this way?
Perhaps I should imagine it as “ the place where my house is located (implicit part) is Osaka” ?


More or less, yes.

は doesn’t mark the subject, it marks the topic. So you could see the question as “What is the location of your house?” and the answer as something like “If it’s my house we’re talking about, it’s Osaka”.


I think I got it,
Can we say that what は marks here is explicitly ‘my house’ but implicitly ‘(the place where) my house (is located)’ ?

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Not quite, what it marks really is “my house”. That you’re talking about the location of your house is just implied from the previous sentence.

You can see it as putting “my house” in contrast to any other house, so a bit like “my house specifically, as opposed to some other house you could imagine, is in Osaka”


Oh ok, so let’s say that there is a general topic that was marked by the question and the topic of my answer is just marking ‘as for my house’
I got what you mean!


One way to think of it is like:




Right, the ロケーション is the so called zero が !!
As for my house, (the location - already marked as subject by the question どこですか) is Osaka :ok_man:


You weren’t wrong. There’s always going to be multiple ways to say things.