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20 Ways to Say NO in Japanese; Language Lesson.

Hello Junkies!

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!


✅ Hey, since you clearly want to learn Japanese…

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1. いいえ – iie – No

This is the literal way of saying no in Japanese.

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.

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.

no in japanese

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.

no in japanese

4. 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.

no in japanese

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.

no in japanese

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.

no in japanese

What’s next?

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!

no in japanese

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.

  • いや、大丈夫だ。
  • iya, daijoubu da.

no in japanese

9. No, you may not.

  • いや駄目です。
  • Iya dame desu.

no in japanese

10. I have no common sense

  • は常識がない
  • 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.

no in japanese

11. No, not really

  • そううわけじゃない
  • Sou iu wake janai

no in japanese

12. No, I don’t think so

  • そうは思わない
  • Sou wa omowanai

no in japanese

13. No thank you in Japanese

  • いいえ、結構です
  • Iie, kekkou desu

no in japanese

14. No, I am English

  • いいえ、はイギリスです
  • Iie, watashi wa igirisujin desu

no in japanese

15. No, she’s not my new girlfriend
  • うよ、しい彼女じゃない
  • Chigauyo, atarashii kanojo janai

In fact, she’s my old girlfriend.

no in japanese

16. No, thank you. I’m full
  • ううん、もういいよ。おいっぱい
  • Uun, mou iiyo. Onaka ippai

no in japanese

17.  No, I can’t speak Japanese.
  • いいえ、は日本語をすことができません
  • Iie, watashi wa nihongo wo hanasu koto ga dekimasen

no in japanese

18. “Would you like something to drink?” “Sorry, no thanks.”

  • お飲み物はいかがですか?」「すいません、いいです」
  • Onomimono wa ikaga desu ka? Suimasen, ii desu.

19. Just say no

  • いっそれば
  • Isso kotowareba

no in japanese

20. Yes and no

  • そうですが違ちがいます
  • Sou desu ga chigaimasu

no in japanese


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

P.S. Highly recommended for learners. If you REALLY want to learn Japanese, I suggest JapanesePod101. Why? You get 2,000+ fun audio/video lessons, tons of study tools, PDF eBooks, Apps and more. Sign up for free at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning!

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3 Replies to “20 Ways to Say NO in Japanese; Language Lesson.”

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