I am a beginner. In the TaeKim Guide textbook, there is a rule for the compounding sentence:

Positive: Conjugate the verb to its past tense and replace 「た」 with 「て」 or 「だ」 with 「で」. This is often called the te-form even though it could sometimes be 'de' .

Negative: Same as i-adjectives, replace 「い」 with 「くて」.

This rule also works for the polite 「です」 and 「ます」 endings.
例) 学生です → 学生でした → 学生でして
例) 買います → 買いました → 買いまして

What I want to ask is: What is the rule for the negative of 「です」 and 「ます」 endings?

From Compound sentence and politeness, an example is:

私は学生ですから勉強します。 ( I study because I'm a student )

How to change the sentence into "I do not study because I am not a student"?

  • This shouldn't be too difficult to look up yourself.
    – Angelos
    Apr 27, 2021 at 2:07
  • 1
    I have double-checked the negative of polite ending many times. It should be arimasen. At this point, there are 2 problems for me. First, it is rare for polite ending in the middle of the sentence, so I do not know whether I should really worry about the rule or not. Secondly, if a compounding sentence is long, and there are many negative endings, I should change all of them into arimasen ??
    – Hoang Vu
    Apr 27, 2021 at 2:36
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    You don't need to use things like ます and です every time throughout a sentence to make the sentence polite. You can include them throughout, but it's typically sufficient to end the sentence politely.
    – Leebo
    Apr 27, 2021 at 2:45
  • Btw, to use the negative of desu or masu in the middle of a compounding sentence, I first change masu to masen and desu to desu / arimaseb deshite ? Then, how to connect the 2 sub sentence ?
    – Hoang Vu
    Apr 28, 2021 at 1:37

1 Answer 1


Negative of です can always be ではありません. But here you have to be careful because the notion of "negative" is quite different from what it is in latin-based languages. Like you could ask "what's the negative form of X in German/French/Italian" and you could get some usable information in real life from the answer you might get, but that's not guaranteed in Japanese. So I strongly caution against asking that question in the first place, if your goal was to add to your conversational repertoire. That's a rabbit hole you don't want to go down, beacuase people avoid the gramatically simple negative form like plague and hence there are numerious ways around it instead. Imagine if you will, a whole race of people avoiding "no"!

That said, you can say:


The gramatically simple, correct negative to it is:

そうではありません。 そうではないです。

...but you could cause some drama you don't intend to, depending on the context and who's around and what the subject it, saying that. Consider:

そうとは限りません。"that's not always the case".

As for negatives for ます、it's somewhat simpler. It's always ません。

As for turning 私は学生ですから勉強します。 into "I do not study because I am not a student":

First, omit the subject because it's obvious. (don't state the subject like I unless you really, really have to. By deafult, don't.) Now you have:


..and them, to answer your original question:


would do.

  • 2
    While the caution message about the usage of negative forms is useful, I would not worry too much over it if you are a beginner. I think that it's building a strong fundation and feel comfortable with conjugations first is more important. Besides, there are plenty of situations in which using the negative form is valid and not avoided at all. For example, when speaking about yourself (which is OP's case)
    – jarmanso7
    May 9, 2021 at 14:57
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    My point being, the question is not about the usage of negatives, but about their morphology.
    – jarmanso7
    May 9, 2021 at 14:59

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