I'm sorry if this is a duplicate question (I bet it is), I didn't really know what to search for.

猫を描く、犬を描かない。 (I draw cats, I don't draw dogs.)

How do you say that sentence without having to repeat 描かない? So it would be 'I draw cats, not dogs.'

  • I think you can search for "ellipsis in Japanese". Actually this is a very vast topic, and cannot be covered in any short answer. Rules for ellipsis in Japanese a very different than those in English, and very complicated as well. Just it is possible that some repeatings could be avoided in one language and could not in other, and vice versa. Japanese prefers ellipsis of all words except verbs.
    – firtree
    Feb 9, 2015 at 4:01
  • 3
    I have a book somewhere that talks about English speakers needing to learn not to be afraid of repeating themselves in Japanese. I wonder if I can find it…
    – user1478
    Feb 9, 2015 at 4:27
  • @snailboat +1 I'm a Japanese, and learned in high school to be (at least a little) afraid of repeating oneself in English.
    – Yosh
    Feb 11, 2015 at 6:35
  • In this context, you can just use "猫は描くけれど、犬は描かない". The use of "は" highlights the contrast between cats and dogs.
    – Yosh
    Feb 11, 2015 at 6:38
  • As you can see from all the confusing answers, the short answer is "you don't".
    – oldergod
    Feb 13, 2015 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


It's tricky in Japanese.
for example

猫を描くが、犬はその限りではない。 ("その限りではない" is the same as "not" or close to it)

I'm a Japanese native speaker myself.
But, I have no knowledge of another way to do it without repeating "描く".


Depending on how attached you are to the original meaning, you could go with something like "Instead of dogs, I draw cats": 犬のかわりに猫をかく。

Or go into why it is you don't draw dogs: 犬が好きじゃなくて、猫を書く。

But I'm not sure you're going to find a way to retain the simplicity and precise meaning of your sentence and not repeat yourself.

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