In my JLPT practise book, there is this sentence, which is designed to test if one can track all the negations:


Up to , I think it's saying, "there is no job as uninteresting as that job." But then we hit のではない, and I get a bit lost. I feel like it's saying "there is no job where there is no job as boring as that job," which doesn't really make sense.

How do I parse this sentence so that I can understand whether the speaker thinks その仕事{しごと} is interesting or uninteresting?


How about parsing it as this:


... reading ~~のではないか? as a rhetorical question.

You can say 「~(の)ではないかと思う」(or more colloquially ~~(ん)じゃないかと思う) to mean "I suspect that~~" or "I think it probably is~~".

  • Nice. Adding in the extra quote brackets is helpful, but taking のではないか as set phrase was the key for me. Also, I really appreciate that you helped me parse the sentence without giving away the answer on what the speaker is definitely saying about その仕事, so that I could reach the answer on my own.
    – Questioner
    May 30 '14 at 6:30

He thinks that "that job" is very uninteresting.

I'm sorry I can't split this grammatically, but 「~のではないか」 corresponds to "I wonder whether ~~", where ~~ is something (often bad) which can actually happen.

You can see many examples here.

"I'm afraid that there is no job as uninteresting as this," I thought.


A job as boring as that one


Does not exist. There is not such a job.


のではない or んじゃない + か being a rhetorical question marker, a supposition, a "wondering if."

So basically you get something like "I wondered if there's a job as boring as that one."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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