The expression ませんか (
masenka) represents the negative interrogative form of ます and we can translated it as
would you like to?,
won't you? or
how about doing something?.
ませんか is commonly used for invitations and requests in the polite form or simply in its negative interrogative function.
In this post we learn more about meaning of ませんか, how it is formed, and when ませんか is used through real example sentences.
How ませんか is formed
The expression ませんか is formed by:
- the suffix ます which is added to the B2 or Verb Base ending in い and creates the polite form in the present tense
- and the interrogative particle か which in Japanese replaces the question mark (?)
In the case of Ichidan verbs we have the structure:
Why don't you eat it?
With the Godan verbs we have the form:
Why don't we go?
Let's see an example of conjugation with the verb する
to do, in particular with the structure:
- Noun + する
Would you like to play tennis this Saturday afternoon?
Sorry. I have to work on Saturday.
How and when to use ませんか
ませんか is used when we want to invite a person to do something with us or when we make polite requests.
Would you like to come back with me?
Would you like to have lunch together?
Why don't you take a break?
ませんか in its negative interrogative function
ませんか is also commonly used in its ordinary negative interrogative function.
For example in the sentence:
Don't you think that life is short?
Can't it be improved somehow?
A verb often used in this form is ある
to be or
to exist in the negative ありません.
We have heard that there is a hurricane, are there any dangerous risks?
Examples of ませんか
Won't you go eat ramen with me?
Would you like to watch a movie together this weekend?
Why don't we go for a short walk?