JLPT N5 Grammar (janai / dewa nai)


to not be (am not; is not; are not)

How to use





janai dewa nai じゃない ではない jlpt n5 grammar meaning 文法例文 japanese flashcards

Learn Japanese grammar: (janai) & (dewa nai). Meaning: to not be (am not; is not; are not).

Make sure you review “to be” Part 1, before starting this lesson: .

Both and are at the casual level, and can be interchanged freely.

Example A)

watashi wa tomoko sensei dewanai.

I am not Tomoko-sensei.

This literally translates to “I Tomoko-sensei am not”. Remember that Japanese uses SOV (subject-object-verb), rather than SVO like English. This may be strange at first, but it will become natural after some practice.

Example B)

watashi wa nihonjin janai yo.

I am not Japanese.

When speaking more politely

Using the more polite form is simple. Just drop the (nai) and change to (arimasen):

  • じゃありません (ja nai arimasen)
  • ではありません (dewa nai arimasen)

How to use past tense (was/were not, etc)

learn japanese grammar じゃない janai ではない dewa nai jlpt n5

Casual Past Tense:

  • じゃなかった (ja nakatta)
  • ではなかった (dewa nakatta)

Polite Past Tense:

  • じゃありませんでした (ja arimasen deshita)
  • ではありませんでした (dewa arimasen deshita)
  • じゃなかったです (ja nakatta desu)
  • ではなかったです (dewa nakatta desu)

There are many different conjugations that can be used, but within the same politeness level, they can be interchanged freely. Let’s look at some basic examples:

Past Tense Example A)

watashi wa sore o yaru beki ja nakatta.

I should not have done that.

Past Tense Example B)

watashi wa kinou, hima dewa arimasen deshita.

I was not free yesterday (had no free time).

Extra Study Notes

janai dewa nai じゃない ではない jlpt n5 grammar meaning 文法例文 learn japanese flashcards

Click the image to download the flashcard.
Download all N5 grammar flashcards.

JLPT Grammar E-Book Download

Download our complete
JLPT N5 Grammar Master E-book.

become a patron

Access ALL extra downloads, ebooks, and study guides by supporting JLPT Sensei on Patreon.

- Example Sentences

Each example sentence includes a Japanese hint, the romaji reading, and the English translation.

Click the below red button to toggle off and and on all of the hints, and you can click on the buttons individually to show only the ones you want to see.

Example #1

anata wa hitori janai.
You are not alone.
Example #2

kiken janai no?
Isn't it dangerous?
Example #3

sonna tsumori ja nakatta.
That wasn't my plan/intention.
Example #4

gomennasai! wazato dewa arimasen deshita.
I'm so sorry! It wasn't intentional.
Example #5

niku wa amari suki janai desu.
I don't really like meat.
Example #6

wakai koro wa yasai ga suki janakatta.
I didn't like vegetables when I was younger.
Example #7

watashi wa nihongo ga jouzu dewa nai.
I am not good at Japanese (language).

Vocabulary List

わたしI; me
先生せんせいteacher suffix
イギリス人いぎりすじんBritish person
やるべきshould do
ひまfree time
つもりplan; intention

View all JLPT N5 Vocabulary Lessons

JLPT N5 vocabulary list

View all JLPT N5 Grammar Lessons

JLPT N5 grammar list

Recommended JLPT N5 Books

Nihongo So-matome: JLPT N5

This book covers everything you need to pass the JLPT N5 in just 6 weeks! (Kanji, Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension)
See price on Amazon

GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese

This is the best all around book for beginners learning Japanese in English. I used this in my first year studying Japanese. I found it to be far better and easier to use than the many other books I was using.
See price on Amazon

Jlpt N5 Japanese Lauguage Proficiency Test Official Practice Test

This is the official practice test of the JLPT N5. I highly recommend doing at least 1 practice test before taking the real test.
See price on Amazon

Jlpt N5 Japanese Lauguage Proficiency Test Official Practice Test (NEW 2018)

This is the new version of the official JLPT N5 practice test. If you've already taken the old practice test, this is a good option to practice with some different questions.
See price on Amazon