I was reading the basic dictionary of Japanese grammar, an entry on が to be exact, and they used this interesting example sentence:


and translated it as "I'm running, but I haven't lost any weight at all".

Why is "yasemasen" used here? The Genki textbook says that the English "haven't done X" constructions normally translate to "~ていません", which is obviously not the case here. Is it maybe because the sentence is actually habitual or something? I.e. it doesn't mean "I'm running right now at the moment of speaking", but rather "I run periodically but I'm not (habitually) losing any weight", or in Russian, "Бегаю, но совсем не худею"? Is this what this sentence means?

  • 2
    The original is not negative present perfect. If something is wrong, it's because of the translation.
    – user4092
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:32
  • Would you consider the "not losing weight" (over a period of time, i.e. habitually) a more suiting meaning then?
    – Aleksander
    Aug 9, 2015 at 14:52
  • I'd choose simply a present tense here, I mean, "I'm running (these days), but I don't loose weight".
    – user4092
    Aug 10, 2015 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


痩せません = 痩せます(explaned later, means lose weight) + ん(negation, auxiliary verb)

It seems 痩せます's origin was 痩す(lose weight, verb) + ます(polite, auxiliary verb), but we don't use 痩す as an independent verb, at least in these days; we generally use it if it were one verb.

As conclusion, I think your Japanese


would be translated to

I'm running, but I don't lose weight at all.

  • ん is an auxiliary verb which has meaning of negation. ます is an auxiliary verb which has polite meaning. ます is conjugated to ませ when connected to ん. 痩せます seems to gramatically be a composition of 痩す(lose weight) + ます(polite), but as I said in answer, it is used as set, as if it were one verb. In end, a verb 痩せます is connected to auxiliary verb ん and form 痩せません.
    – Yuki Inoue
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:14
  • Could you add this to your answer? Of course there is more than one ん, so I think it would be good to state explicitly which one you mean. Also, you say that "ます is conjugated to ませ when connected to ん". I've always assumed that ませ is the 仮定形 of ます. Is that correct?
    – Earthliŋ
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:24
  • 2
    Actually, ませ is a 未然形 of ます。 You can check it here ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Search for 連用形 > 丁寧 row in the table, and you'll find ます。 To connect to the ん of the meaning of negation, the conjucation must be 未然形.
    – Yuki Inoue
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:53
  • 1
    @Earthliŋ Edited the answer.
    – Yuki Inoue
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:56

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