I'm looking for example situations of when to use each level of politeness. I know they all are the same but when situational wise to use each one is where I am having confusion.

  • 3
    And ではない, if you want to have all combinations of [±formal] and [±polite].
    – user1478
    Sep 25 '18 at 17:36

In terms of situational usage, it partially depends on how one wishes to present themselves.

That said, the way I've used these forms is as follows:


  • Formal writing, such as a report or documentation


  • Formal writings in combination with ので when giving an explanation.
  • Formal writings with longer sentences in place of ではありません (both between phrases and at the end of the compound sentence).


  • Formal conversation, such as during an interview.


  • Casual conversation with friends and / or casual writing such as text messages
  • 2
    I believe that for scientific writing (which is also formal), such as for reports or documentation, ではない is standard and ではありません would usually be considered too wordy.
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 27 '18 at 6:14
  • In that context, is it used in the middle of a sentence still (to combine two clauses), or would the sentence end with ではない?
    – Tim F.
    Sep 27 '18 at 6:24
  • 3
    Both in the middle in the sentence, like you also mention, and at the end of a sentence.
    – Earthliŋ
    Sep 27 '18 at 6:28

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