Context: A talks about B to C. A met B while out and about. B approached A and talked about a painting they where looking at.

After describing B as a rather nervous/reserved person, A says to C:


Which I would understand as "It didn't seem like he came to talk." But he was the one who actively approached (he could have avoided the other person easily) and they talk for a bit afterwards. So, in this context this seems rather strange.

Question: Is there a different use for "~そうじゃない"?

Thank you for any pointers! :)

  • 2
    「話しかけて来そうじゃないのよ。」 can mean TWO completely different (and almost opposite) things. Which one it is depends on the situation/context. A little more context would be nice to have. If audio is available, it will be best as the sentence would be uttered with totally different intonations for the two meanings.
    – user4032
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 10:15
  • @l'électeur: Thank you for your comment. I would have liked to provide more context, but the sentence is from a Manga and I don't think we are allowed to post pictures of copyrighted material here, but without the pictures, most of the context would be missing. So I tried to explain what was going on in the pages beforehand. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


Judging from the context I think you have interpreted the sentence almost correctly. The sentence probably means (普段は)話しかけて来そうな人じゃないのよ, or "He is (usually) not a person who is likely to come to talk with me/others," although B actually came to speak to A in that day, which surprised A. Note that the present tense is used in this sentence. Maybe he was interested in the painting or A.

Next time it would be helpful to give us a longer excerpt in Japanese, so that I can remove "probably" from my answer.

Depending on the intonation, 話しかけて来そうじゃないのよ can mean something like "He seems to be about to come and talk with us, doesn't he?" but I don't think it's the case.

  • おいしそうじゃないのよ! ≒ おいしそうじゃないんだ!
    (Because) It doesn't seem delicious!
    (のよ≒んだ≒のだ, so-called "explanatory の")
  • おいしそうじゃないのよ! (uncommon) ≒ おいしそうじゃないか!
    It looks delicious, doesn't it?
  • Thank you! He is (usually) not a person who is likely to come to talk with me/others fits very well. As I read on it became apparent the the picture holds significance for B, which is why he, who usually wouldn't, talked to a stranger. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 19:35

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