I know that it means "is not", but what do those words mean literally? I can"t seem to find that anywhere.

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I know that it means "is not", but what do those words mean literally? I can"t seem to find that anywhere.
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I find that it helps to try not to think about what words mean in English as it can just end up getting confusing as not everything has a literal meaning anyways. But that"s just me.
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Can you give an example ? I don"t think I understand the question, since "de" or "desu" grammatically fits after the noun regardless, even in affirmative sentences. Also, you don"t always need "wa" (or even de" in some cases)....so unless the usage of these particles is understood, "arimasen" won"t make sense alone.
sometimes it"s best not to translate from japanese into english, things take longer and it"s just best to learn things in a few sentences, try using the term in a few sentences or finding it in a few and perhaps you"ll understand it better.
An example? "Hon dewa arimasen." Is supposed to mean "It"s not a book." if I"m not mistaken. "Dewa arimasen" means "is not" (or "it is not", if you will). But I want to know what those words mean literally.I"ve since learned that arimasu means to exist, so obviously arimasen means "it doesn"t exist" here. Which comes down to as much as "it isn"t", freely translated, and the way I assume it"s meant. So what use does dewa serve?
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An example? "Hon dewa arimasen." Is supposed to mean "It"s not a book." if I"m not mistaken. "Dewa arimasen" means "is not" (or "it is not", if you will). But I want to know what those words mean literally.I"ve since learned that arimasu means to exist, so obviously arimasen means "it doesn"t exist" here. Which comes down to as much as "it isn"t", freely translated, and the way I assume it"s meant. So what use does dewa serve?
De is short for "desu" -- once you also understand the "wa" in "sore wa hon desu ka?" and the use of postpositional markers in relation to nouns and verbs overall it starts to make a bit more sense....
Wa indicates the subject. Sore means that. The sentence I think would mean "Is that a book?". It still makes little sense to me.

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Wa indicates the subject. Sore means that. The sentence I think would mean "Is that a book?". It still makes little sense to me.
Does "hon de (It is) wa (subject marking book) arimasen" not therefore become clear as "It (That) is not a book" ?