Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 6: 9/24


Not really, Not particularly, It's not like...


(べつ) + Verb[ない]
(べつ) + [い]Adjective[ない]
(べつ) + [な]Adjective + ではない(1)
(べつ) + Noun + ではない(1)

(1) じゃない


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About 別に〜ない

When paired with ない (either the い-Adjective or the auxiliary verb), the adverb (べつ)に 'separately' changes slightly in definition to that of (とく)に 'especially'. Let's have a look at a few examples.
  • (わたし)(べつ)(かま)ないけど、お(とう)さんはそういう()にするから、お(とう)さんの(まえ)ではそういう(こと)()ないでね。
    I actually don't mind, but my dad cares a lot about things like that, so please don't say such things in front of him.
  • (べつ)(いた)ないよ。(すく)しチクってするだけ
    It's not really painful. It just stings a little.
  • あなた(こと)(べつ)(きら)ではないよ。ただあなた(なに)について(はな)ばいい()らないだけ
    It's not that I don't like you at all. It's just that I don't know what to talk about with you.
  • パーティーってみんな()っているけど(べつ)そんなに(たい)したものではないよ。
    Everyone is calling it a party, but it is actually not that big of a deal.
This 'especially' nuance of (べつ)に comes from 'separately' being negated. The literal meaning of (べつ)に~ない is something like '(A) cannot be separated/differentiated'. This comes across as 'maybe it is a little (A), maybe a lot (A), but in any case, it cannot be said that it IS (A)'.
(べつ)に will quite often be paired with わけではない, as they both express uncertainty. However, it should never be paired with わけがない, as this would be combining a statement that removes certainty, with one that adds certainty.
  • (べつ)ケーキが(きら)というわけではない(いま)()くないだけ
    It is not that I dislike cakes. I just don't want one right now.
  • (べつ)ケーキが(きら)というわけがない(いま)()くないだけ
    It is not that I SO don't not like cakes. I just don't want any right now. (Grammatically correct, but very confusing for the listener)


  • トムが(わる)とは(べつ)()っていない

    I'm not really saying that Tom is bad.

  • (わたし)はそんなに音楽(おんがく)がうるさくても、(べつ)()にしない

    Even if the music is that loud, I don't really care.

  • (べつ)自分(じぶん)(あせ)だらけになってもかまわないが、(ほか)(ひと)(あせ)(いや)です。

    I don't really mind being drenched in sweat, but I don't like other people's sweat.

  • (べつ)(ゆめ)がないわけではない

    It is not that I don't really have a dream.

  • (べつ)(たの)しくないわけではない。(すこ)(つか)れているだけだ。

    It is not like I am not particularly having fun. I am just a bit tired.

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別に〜ない – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (2 in total)

  • someone2020


    What’s the nuance/difference between this, もっとも。。ない、とても。。ない、and すこしも。。ない?

  • Daru


    Nuance and degree!

    最も~ない - Least of all
    とても~ない - Not at all
    少しもない - Not in the slightest
    別に~ない - Not particularly

    They resemble each other, but the basic meaning is easy to tell from the kanji! Hope this helps.

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