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一階で寝てたはずじゃ

This sentence is from episode 21 of "Mirai Nikki". The context is that the protagonist is a bit surprised to find the other character sleeping on the second floor.

I know that んじゃ/のでは can be used in questions as an abbreviation of のではないか, but can just じゃ also be used as an abbreviation of じゃない with nouns? Is it widely used like this? I think I have listened to that quite a lot especially when the characters are speaking fast, but I'm not sure.

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Yes, you're right. じゃ is a colloquial variant of では, and では can follow not only の but also any noun and noun-like words (including はず), and implicit ないか may follow. For example, you can say 「これは本では?」(Isn't this a book?) and 「それは簡単では?」(Isn't that easy?).

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  • Can it also not be question-like? One of the characters tells her hallucinations whe she is about to die もう付きまとうんじゃ which I interpreted as もう付きまとうんじゃない.
    – Manab
    Jan 17, 2023 at 12:38
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    @Manab It can be understood like that if there is enough context, but that's not particularly common. I feel the sentence was abruptly stopped (e.g., because she was too excited).
    – naruto
    Jan 18, 2023 at 0:55

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