Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Since there is apparently no literal translation for "never", how would you translate this idiom ?

What periphrasis would you use to express the same meaning ?

share|improve this question
Or you could take the katakana route and use ネヴァー・セイ・ネヴァー. – Andrew Grimm May 20 '12 at 3:29
up vote 7 down vote accepted

How about something like 「絶対なんて絶対にない」? It has the same self-contradictory nature as the English original, and seems to have some use as well. The meaning is slightly different, however. You could also go with something like 「ありえないなんてありえない」 or something...

share|improve this answer
If I may, you should use quotes in your google requests to actually match a strict pattern, 15,900 matches is still high and makes your point anyways. Well done! – Aki Aug 27 '11 at 19:56
quotes added :) – bdonlan Aug 27 '11 at 19:59
@Aki - This is completely off-topic, but what do you mean here by "periphrasis"? – rdb Aug 27 '11 at 21:01
@rdb Seems to me like the ordinary meaning is fine. – Karl Knechtel Aug 27 '11 at 21:15
Do you mean to say the OP wanted a phrase free of inflected words? – rdb Aug 27 '11 at 21:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.