~じゃない? (colloquial)

~じゃない? (colloquial)

Today’s Question

You cooked something for the first time and your wife said, まあ、おいしいじゃない?
Will you be happy?

Today’s Grammar Point: ~じゃない? (colloquial)


verb: [plain form (non-past/past, affirmative/negative)] (+ ん) + じゃない?
いadjective: [plain form (non-past/past, affirmative/negative)] (+ ん) + じゃない?
なadjective: [stem] (+ なん) + じゃない?/ [stem じゃない/だった/じゃなかった] (+ ん) + じゃない?
noun: [noun] (+ なん) + じゃない?/ [noun じゃない/だった/じゃなかった] (+ ん) + じゃない?


  1. expressing your guess (“perhaps…?”)
  2. asking for confirmation
  3. expressing surprise or criticism


This sentence pattern is different from negative statements like ”わたしは学生じゃない。 (I’m not a student.)” and that is the reason why it is followed by a question mark (“?”). This ~じゃない? is mainly used in casual conversations and have an upward intonation. As you cannot show the intonation in writing, many people will use a question mark when writing this down but please note a question mark is not part of official Japanese punctuation.


  1. guessing

I bet it will rain tomorrow.

If you are talking about Taro, he may come in Kimono.

He looks a bit down. Perhaps he got told off by his teacher?

Perhaps he’s a bit strange?

Perhaps, the exam was hard?

  1. asking for confirmation

Isn’t the person over there our teacher?

Isn’t this shop famous?

Hanako is very pretty, isn’t she?

You have an early start tomorrow morning, don’t you?

  1. express surprise or criticism

Wow, you are so good!

It’s dangerous if you stop suddenly! Be careful!

Answer to Today’s Question

おいしいじゃない? here is an expression of surprise, so the whole thing is like: “Wow, it’s surprisingly delicious!” You could be happy for her saying it’s delicious, but you could be upset for the “surprisingly” bit. You feel happy or not is up to you!

The important thing here is the negative of おいしい is おいしくない. Using じゃない with an いadjective is not making it negative but adding a different meaning (here it is a “surprise”) to it.

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