Hey, there are some words that you just gotta know, and how to say NO in Japanese is one of them. What’s cool is that Japanese actually has a couple different words that can all be translated as “no” in English.
Why so many? Well it’s because each one carries a different nuance. Some are also more informal, so you wouldn’t say them to your boss. Friends are okay though 🙂
The Different NOs
いいえ (iie) = No
This is the normal way to say “no.” This is the version that you should use when talking politely with anyone, be it your boss, someone you just met, etc.
It is ALSO a way to say “you’re welcome.” This would be like in English when you do something for someone and they say “thank you” and you reply with “no problem” or “not at all.”
ううん (ūn) = No (informal)
You can use this version as long as you’re with friends. It works the same way as いいえ. Although, be sure to elongate that “u” sound because if you don’t, then you will accidentally say うん (un) which means YES!
Some other ways to say “No”
So now that we are done with the basic ways to say “no”, both formal and informal, let’s check out a few other ways. These are pretty common to hear in anime so you’ve probably heard them before.
結構です (kekkō desu) = No thank you (I’m fine)
If someone offers you something, like more food or drink, you can use this phrase to say “no thanks.”
ちょっと。。。(chotto…) = Well… (no)
This one literally means “a little” and it is often used as a polite way to say “no” to some sort of request. It conveys the feeling of “well, it’s a little inconvenient. Sorry, I have to say no.”
いや (iya) = I dislike
Here is a good way to say “no” to someone and to imply that it’s because you don’t like it.
だめ (dame) = It’s no good
Say someone offers you some sort of solution, but you know it’s total crap. That’s when you would use this one to say “no way / it’s not going to work.”
やめてください! (yamete kudasai) = Please stop!
If someone keeps bugging you with a request or something and you’re at the end of your rope, this is how you would say “No, and please stop bugging me!”
Better to know and not need to
Hopefully you won’t need to use these phrases too much. But just the same, it’s a good idea to know them. And you will definitely hear them in anime and read them in manga!
And if you’d like to know how to say “YES” in Japanese, you can find it here!
Know of any other ways to say “no” in Japanese? Leave a comment below and let us know!