I learned the grammatical structure of の for questioning (and explaining) things a while ago, but the exact meaning and which gender uses it has kind of confused me.

Here are a few varied sentence I'd first like to confirm whether my understanding of the meaning is correct (I've translated them based on the feeling I'm get when I hear them):

暇があるの? - You have free time? (I thought you didn't)

暇がないの? - You don't have free time? (I thought you did)

暇があるんじゃない? - (But surely) You have free time don't you? (Confirming as if you know they don't) - do I need a の at the end?

暇がないんじゃない? - (But surely) You don't have free time don't you? (Confirming as if you know they do) - do I need a の at the end?

Isn't 暇があるんじゃないの? not used because it doesn't make sense / sounds weird? And then should you add to the end because it sounds a little feminine or replace with んですか? or のですか? to be more formal?

1 Answer 1


Explanatory の is gender-neutral. You can say 暇があるんじゃないの safely in informal settings, regardless of your sex, when you highly suspect the listener has some spare time.

As your textbook probably explains, の is used to seek clarification. You usually need some context before making a の-ending question.

  • 暇(が)ある?
    Do you have time?
  • 暇(が)あるの?
    (That makes me wonder, so) do you have time?

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