I am reading the sentence... 他人に自分の内面を見られたくない人もいるのではないだろうか and wondering why it seems like there is a double negative that I'm not seeing

もいる = + のではない = - だろう = ????


だろうか has to be - right?

Does it have anything to do with what I've been told about だろう being formed from a 未然形 form and some sort of う particle? Is there such thing as an う particle? Apparantly it is a particle concerned with guessing...

Anyway long story short I cannot parse the above sentence since the positives and negatives don't add up... please help.

  • 3
    The end result is negative (a negative question). Like English "aren't there people...?" or "wouldn't you agree that there are people...?". Negative questions are often used (in English and Japanese) when you assume a positive answer.
    – dainichi
    Commented Oct 1, 2013 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


Your question asks whether the addition of でしょう changes the assertion of a rhetorical sentence from positive to negative. In this case the simple answer is "no" but perhaps your real question (which you might want to revise) is:

"I understand sentence endings that include 〜のではないか are positive but is this always the case? eg if they include でしょう?"

If I follow your application of logic then two "+ve" s => +ve result

But, you don't have to rely on this logic. A better approach is to ask yourself:

How can I be sure 〜のではないだろうか is positive? After a while this becomes intuitive but two simple checks are:

  1. What is the context? (the most useful check but not always something we can be confident of understanding when we are stil learning)

  2. Are there any other useful words that confirm the meaning? (eg おそらく or もしかえしたら)

The following examples/explanations from my notes might help:

1. Typical example


I was worried he might have banged his head when he fell over.

2. Conversational example



A: これ以上のへんこうは好ましくないんじゃないかという気持ちがしまして

B: ええ、できれば避けたいですね

3. おそらく

= I think / probably. おそらく is often used with:





4. もしかしたら / もしかすると

= suggestion

which often comes with:




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