Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 7: 21/21

のではないでしょうか

I think ... isn't it?, It might be that..., Don't you agree?

Structure

Verb + (1) + ではない(2)だろう

[い]Adjective + (1) + ではない(2)だろう

Noun + (なの(3))+ ではない(2)だろう

[な]Adjective + (なの(3))+ ではない(2)だろう

(1)
(2) じゃない
(3) なん

Details

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About のではないだろうか

のではないだろうか is a fairly long grammar pattern in Japanese that is used when one wants to express their opinion indirectly, in the form of a rhetorical question. Common translations include 'I think it's (A), isn't it?', and 'it might be that (A)'. However, being that this is just a combination of の, ではない 'isn't', だろう 'probably', and か, the literal meaning is simply 'is it probably not that it's (A)'. Just like in English, the elongation of the phrase and not saying anything with certainty makes it sound more modest.
のではないだろうか may be seen following verbs and い-Adjectives, or な-Adjectives and nouns when preceded with な. Additionally, でしょう may replace だろう.
  • 先輩(せんぱい)(つか)れているのじゃないだろうか
    I think that our senpai is tired, don't you think?
  • 息子(むすこ)がおもちゃをじーっとみている。あのおもちゃが()しいのじゃないだろうか
    Our son is staring at a toy. I think he wants that toy, don't you agree?
  • 長谷川(はせがわ)さんは田中(たなか)さんのことが()きなのではないでしょうか
    I think that Hasegawa-san likes Tanaka-san, don't you agree?
  • あの(ひと)右腕(みぎうで)(はい)ってるタトゥー、防犯(ぼうはん)カメラに(うつ)っていたのと(まった)(おな)じです。あの(ひと)犯人(はんにん)のではないでしょうか
    The tattoo on that person's right arm is exactly the same as the one seen on the security camera. I think that he is the perpetrator, don't you agree?
This phrase can also be used when seeking agreement from the listener, or when mildly trying to persuade them that your way of thinking may be correct.

Examples

  • (かれ)はもしかして、あきれているではないだろうか

    I think that he is probably amazed, right?

  • 仕事(しごと)(たい)する真剣(しんけん)姿(すがた)に、(あこが)れるではないだろうか

    I think a serious stance towards one's work is admired, isn't it?

  • こんな(ねが)をしてしまって、(あつ)かましかったではないだろうか

    I think it was pretty bold/shameless to make a request like this, wasn't it?

  • あの(みせ)水曜日(すいようび)(たし)定休日(ていきゅうび)ではないだろうか

    If I am not mistaken, I think that store has its regular holiday on Wednesday, right?

  • 定価(ていか)は10,000(えん)ではないでしょうか随分(ずいぶん)(やす)くなっていますね。

    I think the regular price is 10,000 yen, isn't it? It has become considerably cheaper, don't you think?

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のではないだろうか – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (3 in total)

  • wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV

    wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV

    About 2 years ago

    The structure details for this grammar point

    Noun + (なの(3))+ ではない(2)(だろう)か
    
    (2) じゃない
    (3) なん
    

    indicate nouns can be inflected with なの・なん, but this doesn’t appear to be reflected in the examples, nor accepted in any of the answers I’ve encountered so far. I already reported this previously, but thought I should post here as well to bring attention to this discrepancy.

  • Fuga

    Fuga

    About 1 year ago

    Hey @wrt7MameLZE33wlmpCAV !

    Sorry for the late response! We have just fixed this so that those answers are accepted!

  • OctopusEvening

    OctopusEvening

    About 3 months ago

    This still appears to be the case or am I doing something wrong?

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