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I understand that they both mean I do not like, but I'm not sure what exactly 「好きではない」means. Moreover, does the particle 'では'make a difference, or could you have just used 'は'?

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    That is a tricky question with only one of the two sentences using a 「ん」. That 「ん」 is important.
    – user4032
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 9:33

3 Answers 3

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You seem to be asking two questions in one here, about the difference between では and じゃ and also about what the presence or absence of ん means.

Number 1, じゃ is a contraction of では, like how 'can't' is a contraction of 'cannot' in English. では can be formal, or it can also imply greater emphasis.

Number 2, ん is a contraction of の in the のだ・のです structure. 好きじゃないです (and 好きではないです) is a plain statement. 'I don't like it.' With ん, there's a bit of an explanatory nuance. Note that, directly following a noun or na-adjective, のだ・のです takes the form ~なのだ・なのです, or ~なんだ・なんです contracted. This form cannot directly follow a noun or i-adjective; 「好きではないなんだ」 is ungrammatical.

「今度、寿司を食べに行きませんか?」 'Will you go out for sushi some time?'

「遠慮しときます。魚は好きじゃないんです。」 'I'll pass. I don't like fish.'

As you can see, 好きじゃないんです explains why the person is turning down the invitation.

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  • I do not know where you learn that ん is a contraction of のだ but it's not. it's a contraction of  なん
    – vdegenne
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:29
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    @vdegenne 「好きなんだ」は「好きなのだ」で、「好きんだ」とか「好きななんだ」なんて言えません。これを見てみてください。
    – Angelos
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 20:49
  • んです has the same connotation as のです but it doesn't mean it is a contraction from. んです is the contraction of なんです which you will see being used interchangeably if you read a whole story book. The same goes for のです and なのです. (and please use English, it's a stack exchange to learn Japanese, not the other way. Thanks.)
    – vdegenne
    Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 21:04
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    @vdegenne Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. You seem to be suggesting that the non-contracted form would be 好きじゃないなんです. That's not grammatical. Nor would be 食べたなんです, but 食べたんです is correct. I see no error in Angelos's answer. Commented Oct 22, 2022 at 9:01
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    @vdegenne なんです is a contraction of なのです, the same as んです is a contraction of のです. なんです cannot be used in the same places that んです can, so they are clearly not equivalent.
    – Foogod
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 19:35
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Actually they are equal --> じゃ(JA)=では(DEWA)Not only you may find 「じゃ、では」ないです, but also「じゃ、では」ありません and their level of formality differs:

じゃない → most informal

ではない → more formal

じゃありません → more formal

ではありません → most formal

では is used in more formal situations. It really depends on the context, who you're speaking to, and how formal you want to be. For more information on their usage, you can visit [this page]

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    Read more closely. He's asking the difference between 好きじゃないです and 好きではないです.
    – Angelos
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 9:57
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好きじゃないです is
すき(like)+じゃない(not)+です(is)
=do not like

好きではないんです is
好き(like)+ではない(not)+[な]んです(is that)
=do not like

In other words, they are the same.
I would say じゃない is more colloquial though.

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