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double negative?

dhmkhkk

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Hi there,

I've come across the following sentence:
雨戸が開けられないじゃないか。

Why is the negation 2 times here? "I cannot not open the shutters/screens"? I have seen similar double negations a few times already, but I thought I will come across some kind of explanation later on. Could someone please explain how it works? Examples would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! :)

Also... what is the role of the ka in the end? It is not a question, so it must be something else, but I can't figure out what :/
 

Toritoribe

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じゃない is not a negative conjugation suffix there. じゃない(か) is a sentence final particle, similar meanings to でしょ(う) or だろ(う). It often connotes a nuance of "complaint", though. か is originally from the question particle. じゃないか is basically used by male, but the same meaning じゃない are for both male and female. As you can see below, this じゃないか never conjugates, as same as the polite suffix です for i-adjectives.

present: 開けられるじゃないか
negative: 開けられないじゃないか
past: 開けられたじゃないか
past negative: 開けられなかったじゃないか

present: 高いです
negative: 高くないです
past: 高かったです
past negative: 高くなかったです
 

dhmkhkk

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Thank you Toritoribe, I find it really confusing though. For example, this explanation here with examples:
How to use 〜じゃない ( = janai) & 〜んじゃない ( = ~ njanai) – Maggie Sensei

似合うじゃない (ですか)!
It looks good on you.

How do you differentiate when it means "it looks good on you" and when "it doesn't suit you"? Or is it that じゃない cannot be used in the negative meaning after verbs and the negative would be "似合わない/似合いません"? If so, then how about after nouns?

野球じゃない (ですか)!
Oh, it’s baseball! //// It's not baseball ??
 

lanthas

 
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How do you differentiate when it means "it looks good on you" and when "it doesn't suit you"? Or is it that じゃない cannot be used in the negative meaning after verbs and the negative would be "似合わない/似合いません"?
Correct.

If so, then how about after nouns?
野球じゃない (ですか)!
Oh, it’s baseball! //// It's not baseball ??
Don't forget 野球じゃない? (Isn't that [sport she's talking about] baseball? / Wait, it's not baseball?)

The answer is that the difference can only be told from context and (in the case of speech) intonation. The JLPT preparation material I used had a section dedicated specifically to this, complete with an audio file to let you practice recognizing the different intonations.
 
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