Isn't A B?

Quick lesson here.

You know how we use "Isn't…?" when seeking confirmation that something is a certain way?

Like this: "Good sir, do indulge me in confirming that A is B."

I'm just kidding. I meant sentences like this…

You are eating pieces of a watermelon that you just cut, and the watermelon is quite delicious. You tell your friend to try it and, once they do, you say: "Isn't it good?"

Similar sentences:
    - Isn't that movie so amazing? (=I think that movie is so amazing, don't you?)
    - Aren't you busy today? (=[Unless I'm mistaken,] You are busy today, aren't you?)


In casual, spoken Japanese, we can make similar sentences by using the「~ない?」ending.

I'm tempted to say that this is easy, but you run the risk of communicating the wrong meaning if you get your intonation wrong. Pay special attention to the audio for the following two sentences:

これ美味しくない?
これ おいしくない?
Is this not good?
Literally: "this + isn't tasty?"
Note: The speaker suspects that maybe "this" tastes bad.



これ美味しくない?
これ おいしくない?
Isn't this good?
Literally: "this + isn't tasty?"
Note: The speaker thinks that "this" tastes good.


 



Let's try that again, this time using ~じゃない, which we just talked about in the last lesson:

今日は無理じゃない?
きょう は むり じゃない?
Could we not do it today? // Is today feasible?
Literally: "today + は + impossible + isn't?"
Note: The speaker is hoping that today is feasible.



今日は無理じゃない?
きょう は むり じゃない?
We can't do it today, can we? // Today won't work, will it?
Literally: "today + は + impossible + isn't?"
Note: The speaker is saying that today is probably not feasible.



Ah, pronunciation.

Tricky, isn't it? But it's also one of the more entertaining aspects of learning a language.

As for encountering sentences like these in the real world, I find myself using the second version of each sentence above most commonly.




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