577 - というものではない

It is not enough to simply read Japanese books. If you want to be fluent, you must get practice producing Japanese sentences in conversations and writing.

...is advice that I give everyone but never followed during the first few years of my Japanese studies. I was living in the US for most of that time, which was a great excuse to not get speaking or writing practice, especially because I didn't know about online lessons or language exchanges.

Instead, I did lots of flashcards and read lots of books... which did improve my Japanese quite a bit, yeah, but it took a long time for my expressive abilities to catch up.

Anyway, see how I started that first sentence with "It is not enough"...?

Or maybe I could have said, "It is not the case that simply studying Japanese books will make you fluent in Japanese."

That's our grammar point for this lesson:


JLPT N2: というものではない

One of my grammar books says that this means "it can't be said that" or "it's not the case that." I think these are good translations of というものではない sometimes, but I found that my translations were also including phrases like "it is not enough to/that," "one does not necessarily," etc.

In other words, I think it's tricky to put a simple English label on というものではない.

Let's just remember it this way: というものではない, which literally means something like "it is not the case that," is basically a soft way of saying that something is not (always) correct.

An example:


英語圏に住んでいれば自然に英語が話せるようになるというものではない
えいごけん に すんでいれば しぜん に えいご が はなせる ように なる というものではない。
One does not necessarily learn to speak English naturally just by living in an English-speaking country. // It cannot be said that you can learn to speak English naturally just by living in an English-speaking country.
Literally: “English-speaking area + に + if one is living + naturally + English + が + can speak + ように + become + というものではない.”

If we were to drop off というものではない, we would have had:

英語圏に住んでいれば自然に英語が話せるようになる。
えいごけん に すんでいれば しぜん に えいご が はなせる ように なる。
You can learn to speak English naturally just by living in an English-speaking country.
Literally: “English-speaking area + に + if one is living + naturally + English + が + can speak + ように + become.”

The speaker in our original sentence does not agree with this assertion, so she sticks というものではない onto the end of it in order to state that this assertion is not necessarily true:

英語圏に住んでいれば自然に英語が話せるようになるというものではない
えいごけん に すんでいれば しぜん に えいご が はなせる ように なる というものではない。
One does not necessarily learn to speak English naturally just by living in an English-speaking country. // It cannot be said that you can learn to speak English naturally just by living in an English-speaking country.
Literally: “English-speaking area + に + if one is living + naturally + English + が + can speak + ように + become + というものではない.”


It cannot be said that studying the rules for constructing grammar patterns is fun.

Luckily, this one's pretty straightforward:

Plain Formというものではない


By the way, you can also say というものでない instead of というものでない.

Like this:


成功するには努力が必要だ。が、努力すれば必ず成功するというものでもない
せいこう する に は どりょく が ひつよう だ。 が、 どりょく すれば かならず せいこう する というものでもない。
Hard work is necessary in order to succeed. However, it cannot be said thathard work guarantees success.
Literally: “success + do + には + effort / exertion + が + necessary + だ. + however, + effort / exertion + if one does + without fail / certainly + success + do + というものでもない.”


It is OK to use というものではない in spoken or written Japanese, so there's a pretty good chance that you'll come across it eventually.

Maybe not every day... but sometimes.

When you do come across it, there's a pretty good chance that it will be following a ~ばいい phrase.

Like this:

睡眠は質が大切だ。ただ長く寝ればいいというものではない
すいみん は しつ が たいせつ だ。 ただ ながく ねれば いい というものではない。
The quality of sleep is important. Just sleeping for a long time is not enough.
Literally: “sleep + は + quality + が + important + だ. + just / only + long + if one sleeps + good + というものではない.”

This ~ばいい, by the way, is not the ~ばいい meaning "I hope," which we saw in this lesson: [NDL #567] - JLPT N4: ~ばいい (hope).

Instead, this is the ~ばいい meaning "would be good if" or "should" ...which, alas, we haven't had a lesson on yet.

But maybe you can understand it from this single example:

睡眠は質は大切ではない。ただ長く寝ればいい
すいみん は しつ は たいせつ ではない。 ただ ながく ねれば いい。
The quality of sleep is not important. You should [can] just sleep for a long time.
Literally: “sleep + は + quality + は + important + ではない. + just / only + long + if one sleeps + good .”


Perhaps this goes without saying, but sometimes the end of というものでは[も]ない will not be ~ない.

Sometimes it will be ~ありません, as in the following example:


料理はおいしければいいというものでもありません。栄養のバランスや見た目も大事です。
りょうり は おいしければ いい というものでもありません。 えいよう の バランス や みため も だいじ です。
It is not enough for food to simply taste good. Food’s appearance and nutritional balance are also important.
Literally: “cooking + は + if it’s tasty + good + というものでもありません. + nutrition + の + balance + や + appearance + も + important + です.”


You're done.

But it is not the case that you can master a new grammar point just by reading a lesson one time.

So maybe once more, from the top?

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