EDIT: It seems I have a misunderstanding about んじゃない. I thought it was meant to add "isn't it" to the end of a question. e.g. 田中さんはケーキを食べるんじゃない "田中 eats cake doesn't he?.

According to Tsuyoshi Ito's answer below it seems it can also be used to negate a sentence. I'm not sure what this means. Does it become "田中 doesn't eat cake does he?" or just "田中 doesn't eat cake". If the latter, how does it differ from 田中さんはケーキを食べない.

In summary, how do I know which way to interpret んじゃない?

I've looked at all the related questions on this site but none of them are clearing up my confusion.

ORIGINAL: I'm having trouble making any sense from this sentence:


After all, when you say you're ordinary, you're ordinary, so it makes you special doesn't it?

I don't really know how to interpret じゃないもん. Is that making my translation go wrong or is this sentence really as silly as my translation?

2 Answers 2


The difference between the two translations you're thinking about here is the question mark.

んじゃない is just a composite of ん/の which is used for explanatory purposes and じゃない。(んだ/のだ when its not negated)

With no question mark or tone it only negates the sentence and signifies that the speaker is trying to explain themselves.

When you add the question mark as in the grammar you refer to,  んじゃない? it gains the confirmation seeking meaning "isn't?" it etc.

  • Thanks, and welcome to Japanese SE. So the end of my original sentence 特別なことしてるんじゃない is simply "it's not that it's making it special"? I still can't make any sense out of the whole sentence. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 23:36
  • 1
    Thank you! :) I think the meaning is more like " When I say I'm normal I'm really normal, It's not like I'm doing anything special." Does that make sense?
    – Aniva
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 21:26

~じゃないもん is a colloquial expression for ~ではないもの. The もん/もの here is used to express insistence.

Your translation is incorrect at least because the negation in じゃない/ではない is missing. I do not know about the rest because of the lack of context. I am particularly unsure about the correctness of any of the occurrences of “you” in your translation.

  • Two girls are talking about whether their lives are ordinary. Girl A says that girl B isn't ordinary. Girl B denies this 別にえらくないよ and says the sentence above. I'm confused about the negation. I thought that e.g. あなたはケーキを食べるんじゃない meant "you eat cake don't you" rather than "you don't eat cake". Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 18:07
  • +1 for the もん explanation. Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 23:25

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