Friday, July 28, 2006

わけではない and わけがない

わけがない: No reason for ~; It is impossible for ~; X cannot ~
わけではない: It doesn't mean that ~; It's not that ~

From what I gather, わけがない is equal to 可能性がない, whereas わけではない is less of an impossibility. Is this correct? Also, could someone please write an example sentence or three?

Here are a few from fellow readers and myself:

わけがない:

(1) この町を知らないから、正しい道路を分かるわけがないよ!
-I don't know this town so how should I know the correct road!

(2)  あいつを殺しちゃったわけがない
-There's no way you can conclude that she killed him.

(3) 私の気持ちがあなたにわかるわけがない
-There's no reason/logic that you could understand my feelings.
→ You couldn't understand my feelings.

(4) こんな難しい本は初心者に読めるわけがない
-There's no reason/logic that beginners can read such a difficult book
→ A beginner couldn't read such a difficult book.

わけではない:

(1) ここではほとんどの人は日本語がしゃべられるのに、全て話せるわけじゃない
-Most people here speak Japanese, but that doesn't mean that all do, you know.

(2) あいつを殺しちゃったわけではない(わけじゃない)
-It's not like she killed him or anything.

(3) 曇っているからといっていつもその後に雨が降るわけではない
-Even when it is cloudy, it does not always mean it will rain.

(4) 英語が話せても仕事ができるわけではない
-He can speak English but it does not mean he's competent at work.


In conclusion:

Futureal said:
"The way I was taught, and the way I still understand it, is that 訳じゃない is the equivalent of "it's not that~" whereas 訳がない is more like "there's no way that~".

It makes sense if you consider 訳 the clause nominalized by "that" in the above examples. The first is a simple negation, "it's not that (clause)": the second asserts that the (hypothetical or not) situation does not exist. "


訳が無い → No reason. motive etc / not follow logically, hold no water etc

訳ではない → Softens a denial / rejection / conclusion. Something like "It's no like", "It's not as if","It's not that"

4 comments:

Futureal said...

The way I was taught, and the way I still understand it, is that 訳じゃない is the equivalent of "it's not that~" whereas 訳がない is more like "there's no way that~".

It makes sense if you consider 訳 the clause nominalized by "that" in the above examples. The first is a simple negation, "it's not that (clause)": the second asserts that the (hypothetical or not) situation does not exist.

jljzen88 said...

Thanks Futureal,

I'm beginning to see it more clearly now.

わけがない simply denies the possibility entirely-- Hence, the negation.

I also noticed that わけではない is in many times used to softens a denial / rejection / conclusion.

If you have any examples you'd like to post, please add them in comments in the future.

sakaya_slag said...

If you wanna break up with your J-girl or talk about preferences etc, わけではない is a really useful one.

嫌いなわけじゃないけど。。。(add excuse)

I think わけがない is the rough equivalent of 絶対にーない

うちの子がそんなことをするわけがないー(そんなこと絶対にしない)

Harlequin said...

わけ basically means 理由 or 原因 for all intents and purposes, and as we all already know you use it when you are giving a reason or excuse, hence it is part of words such as 言い訳 and 申し訳. The difference between わけがない and わけではない is simple. The first says the reason stated is not the cause at all, while the second says that the reason stated is not the cause, but something else is. So like has already been mentioned, absolute negation versus softer, more ominous negation. Something else you may want to consider is that 訳がない and ~の訳がない are NOT the same!!

訳がない -> 理由がない
~の訳がない -> ~のはずない (interchangeable)

Think about how がない and ではない are different in any other instance, it holds true with this too. Also bear in mind that in conversation a lot of the time you won't even hear a が or では, often the speaker will just say わけない。

Other example sentences using わけ are:

そういう訳なら if that is the case

彼は訳のわかった人です。He is a sensible man

いつも学校に遅れるのはどういう訳だ? How is it that you are always late for school?

そんな訳わからないこと言うな! Don't say such senseless things!

Hope this helps.