What is the difference between the following fragments?

A: 終わらなさそうだ

B: 終わりそうもない

It seems to me, both means "it does not look like it will finish".

If they are different, how to use each?


2 Answers 2


Sentence A is closer to your translation. Sentence B is more emphatic and it sounds like you will be nowhere near the goal by the deadline.

も + ない indicates a strong negation (≒"never", "even"). See: function of the particle も in 「~も辞さない」

  • A is "objective", B is "emphatic". But "objective" and "emphatic" are not always mutually exclusive. Does your answer depend on the verb 終わる? How about 雨は降りなさそう? Feb 16, 2017 at 1:31
  • 1
    @CraigHicks Right. Maybe "matter-of-factly" would be the better word.
    – naruto
    Feb 16, 2017 at 1:34
  • correction - 雨は降らなさそう Feb 16, 2017 at 1:38

A:終わらなそうだ connotes objectivity. The speaker isn't involved in or part of the deed.

B:終わりそうもない connotes subjectivity. The speaker is involved in or part of the deed.

Both are grammatically correct. Hinges on speakers view on the deed.

  • 1
    How about 雨は降りなさそうだ vs. 雨は降りそうもない. Does this fit in that objective / subjective framework? Feb 16, 2017 at 1:32
  • correction - 雨は降らなさそう Feb 16, 2017 at 1:42
  • 降りそうもない implies that the speaker want it to rain.
    – user19858
    Feb 16, 2017 at 2:01
  • 1
    What subjective expression would imply the speaker wants it not to rain? Feb 16, 2017 at 19:25

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