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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Hiroko here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Japanese questions.
The question for this lesson is…What’s difference between 行く訳にはいかない(iku wake ni wa ikanai) and 行く訳がない(iku wake ga nai)?
The dictionary form of a verb plus 訳にはいかない(wake ni wa ikanai) means that it’s impossible to do something. It implies not only that you can’t but that you’re not allowed in light of social etiquette or common sense. It’s used in matters of right and wrong. For example if you say, 行くわけにはいかない(iku wake ni wa ikanai) it means you can’t go anywhere under any circumstances because it’s against the rules or it would be bad for your social standing.
The dictionary form of a verb plus 訳がない(wake ga nai) means, “There’s no reason why…” or “It’s impossible for…” In this case, the connotation has more to do with not making sense or there being no reason to do something. Therefore, 行くわけがない(iku wake ga nai) means “It’s impossible to go (somewhere),” with the implication that it just doesn’t make sense considering the situation.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use 行く訳にはいかない(iku wake ni wa ikanai) and 行く訳がない(iku wake ga nai) correctly.
First, let’s do an example with 訳にはいかない(wake ni wa ikanai)--
一人でやるのはたいへんですが、みんな忙しそうなので手伝ってもらうわけにはいきません。(Hitori de yaru no wa taihen desu ga, minna isogashi sō na node tetsudatte morau wake ni wa ikimasen.)
This sentence means, “It is difficult to do alone, but since everyone seems to be busy, I cannot ask them for help.” It’s implying that they aware of the social rule that interrupting others who are busy in order for them to help me with my own work is wrong. Therefore, even though it’s difficult, they have to do it on their own, and we use 訳にはいかない(wake ni wa ikanai).
Now, let’s do an example with 行く訳がない(iku wake ga nai)--
日本語そんなに速くマスターできるわけがない。(Nihongo sonna ni hayaku masutā dekiru wake ga nai.)
This sentence means, “It’s impossible to be able to master Japanese that quickly.” Japanese is a difficult language to learn and there’s no way that someone would be able to master Japanese at such a fast pace.
Lastly, let’s do an example with both--
A: 私は車で来たので、お酒を飲むわけにはいきません。(Watashi wa kuruma de kita node, o-sake o nomu wake ni wa ikimasen.)
B: 彼は車で来たので、お酒を飲むわけがありません。(Kare wa kuruma de kita node, o-sake o nomu wake ga arimasen.)
A: “I came by car, so I’m definitely not allowed to drink alcohol.”
B: “He came by car, so he shouldn’t drink alcohol at all (it’s impossible he has drunk any alcohol).”
In the first sentence, the implication is that because I drove, I shouldn’t drink, because drinking and driving is wrong. In the second sentence, we are talking about someone else who drove, and it doesn’t make any sense that they would have drunk in the current situation, because that person always follows the rules.
How was this? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
またね![mata ne!] See you!


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 9th, 2017 at 06:30 PM
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What Japanese learning question do you have?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 1st, 2020 at 02:25 PM
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You're right. ます form is always formal, so ません as well is formal. The -ない ending is called ない form, which is the informal, negative form. You can study it here.


Also, the よ is a particle.


Please let us know if you have any questions :)



Team JapanesePod101.com

May 23rd, 2020 at 07:41 PM
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Hello, Hiroko-san. What is the difference between "shaberemasen" (喋れません) and "shaberarenaiyo" (喋られないよ)? Is -masen (such as in wakarimasen) just more formal than -yo (such as in wakaranaiyo)?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
July 31st, 2017 at 10:42 AM
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Josiah san,


Could you please tell me where the ‘sa’ comes from?


Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

July 9th, 2017 at 04:22 AM
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Hiroko san hello.

Do you think that could make a video explaining the word sa

June 2nd, 2017 at 11:04 PM
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Will there be more question videos?