How do you say no in Japanese? The one word you really need to know is いいえ (iie). It’s pronounced as “ee-ye.” But, there are more ways of saying no.
You will learn them all in the next 3 minutes.
Now, keep in mind that Japanese people don’t like saying no. Why? Culture. It’s not polite. But, you will learn them anyway so you can speak more Japanese because you’re a smart learner!
20 Ways to Say No In Japanese – Language Lesson!
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1. いいえ – iie – No
This is the literal way of saying no in Japanese.
But, you should only use this to correct others. As in, “no, I’m not a native Japanese speaker, but thanks.” Don’t use it to refuse things.
By the way, you should also HEAR real Japanese pronunciation.
So, while you read this lesson, listen to this FREE Japanese Audio Lesson. It’s a bit unrelated but you will learn Japanese greetings.
- Lesson – Say Hello in Japanese No Matter the Time of Day
- by JapanesePod101 – click here for more easy Japanese lessons
2. いや – iya – No
This is a very casual way to say no… BUT… it depends on the context. “Iya” is also used as an interjection or a filler word like “well….” So, it really depends on the context of the sentence.
3. ううん – uun – No
This is another very casual way of saying no. Remember, “うん (un)” is yes and the longer version, “ううん (uun)” is no.
4. 違う – Chigau – to be different
“Chigau” is very often used to say no in Japanese. Literally, you’re saying “different.”
You should use it like you would use “iie.” Do it when you’re correcting someone or responding as to whether something is true or not.
5. ちょっと – chotto – “it’s a little…”
Chotto means “little.”
This is a very common and INDIRECT way to say no in Japanese. It’s not a literal no. It’s you saying, “well.. that’s uhh…kind of…” or “It’s a little bit… not what I want…” to mean “no way, dude.” If you make a grimace and suck your teeth, you’ll be saying this like a native.
It’s also a very safe way to refuse things.
Want to be a little LESS polite? Say this.
6. 無理 – muri – impossible
Can we go out on a date? Muri. Can I borrow your deodorant? Muri. Hey, will you go to my live band show tomorrow? Muri. It’s a great word to refuse things in Japanese. Just use it casual situations only, please.
7.ダメ – dame – no good
This is another word you can use to refuse things. Or, you can call things “no good.” Like, “that pizza was no good.” Or, “that person is no good!”
Now you know some easy ways to say no in Japanese.
Let’s Learn Some Phrases Now
Let’s add some “no” phrases and sentences to your greedy, Japanese-learning brain.
8. No, that’s okay.
- iya, daijoubu da.
9. No, you may not.
- Iya dame desu.
10. I have no common sense
- Watashi wa joushiki ga nai
In this case, the “no” is more of a “don’t have.” So, it’s not a refusal or a “no, you’re wrong” type of line.
11. No, not really
- Sou iu wake janai
12. No, I don’t think so
- Sou wa omowanai
13. No thank you in Japanese
- Iie, kekkou desu
14. No, I am English
- Iie, watashi wa igirisujin desu
- Chigauyo, atarashii kanojo janai
In fact, she’s my old girlfriend.
- Uun, mou iiyo. Onaka ippai
- Iie, watashi wa nihongo wo hanasu koto ga dekimasen
18. “Would you like something to drink?” “Sorry, no thanks.”
- Onomimono wa ikaga desu ka? Suimasen, ii desu.
19. Just say no
- Isso kotowareba
20. Yes and no
- Sou desu ga chigaimasu
Now you know how to say no in Japanese. You can let people down gently or stab them in the heart with words like “muri.”
If you want to say yes in Japanese, check out the link below:
— the Main Junkie
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