I was under the impression that は should be always used in negative sentences. Is がない an exception to this rule? Does が add something special to the negation?



Do the above sentences have the same meaning?

  • "Do the above sentences have the same meaning?" -- No. May 8, 2017 at 3:05

2 Answers 2


I think this が is が for neutral description.

This type of が is not limited to がない.

  • あの看板がよく見えない。 I can't see that signboard well.
  • あれ? パソコンが動かない。 Oh? This PC doesn't work.

When you say 仕事はない, you are saying it more or less as the plain fact that holds true for the time being (e.g., you are unemployed). 仕事がない is used when you have realized you have nothing to do for now, or you are temporarily having trouble finding a good job.


It might be useful to picture them as being answers to different “questions”:

Q1. (Is there a job? / Are there any jobs?)
A1. 仕事ない

Q2. (What do you not have? / Why are you broke? / Why are you at home?)
A2. 仕事ない

You would never answer Q1 with A2, and vice versa.

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