How to use わけ?

BriefJapanese – How to use わけ?What does わけではない mean? – All about わけ explained.

わけ is an expression all Japanese students eventually encounter, sooner or later (usually sooner, as わけではない, is often used in anime). The more we encounter it, the more confusing it becomes – a tough nut to crack. Especially since the explanations in textbooks are often not clear. But this post is here to help you.

If you go through it, you will be able to understand various わけ nuances.

So let’s start. This post is also meant to be kept as reference.

What わけ is?

わけ (訳) is a noun that is used to denote determination, conclusion, or reason and all of the uses are extensions of these meanings.

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verb + わけ | verb + というわけ

いAdjective + わけ | いAdjective + というわけ

なAdjective + な + わけ | なAdjective + (だ)+ というわけ

Noun + な + わけ | Noun + (だ)+ というわけ

The most confusing is わけだ – as it has few basic uses: stating reason, natural consequence, conclusion, or restating/summarizing something previously said.

These basic uses can be used in two types of situations, which is what confuses learners (seriously, they are very confusing).

The first is when the speaker uses わけ as a reaction to what his conversation partner says (both parts are active in dialogue), and the second is when the speaker performs a monologue, for example when explaining something to his conversation partner.

By the way,

わけだ can be replaced with というわけだ(ってわけ)without changing the meaning, the latter is more often used with なAdjectives and nouns.

Responses to conversation partner utterances type:

わけだ that’s why, no wonder

Used when someone understands the reason or cause of something he/she was wondering about, based on something heard from another person. Something becomes clear to the speaker after hearing new information. This usage requires a conversation partner statement, so it is used in dialogue.

Often used together with だから、それで、なるほど、やっぱり。


「本当? だからおいしいわけよね。」

“Gordon Ramsey has baked this cake.”

“Really? No wonder it is so good.”



“Nagatoro caught flu.”

“Oh, that is why she did not come to the club today, right?”



After seeing the friend’s worried face (and starting to wonder about the reason, the friend says:)

“My dad had an accident.”

“I see, so that’s why you look worried.”

わけだ Oh I see, so you mean, in other words

Used when restating or summarizing what other person has said. Often appears together with つまり。


I heard that he would start going to the gym next week.


In other words, he wants to lose weight.


“My daughter always complains about how much she has to study for her classes.”


In a word, she hates studying, doesn’t she?

わけだ because, since, so

Used to state the reason for what the conversation partner has said. Often to make someone understand the facts of a situation.



“I have heard that Tanaka-san has died recently.”

“Really? That must have been a heart attack.”


わけだ naturally, that’s why, so

Used to indicate that something is a natural (inevitable) consequence of something, which is mentioned first and followed by phrases like から or ので. Often used when the speaker explains something.


With age, the bones get weaker, so it gets easier to break them.


He has lived for over twenty years in Japan, so his Japanese is perfect.


Used to restate or summarize, often when explaining something to a conversation partner.


He is my mother’s younger brother’s son. In other words, we are cousins.


Used to indicate that B is the reason for A.


Suddenly she decided to move to another city 500 km away. Because she was madly in love.

わけがわからない does not make sense

Used when something cannot be understood by the speaker, and does not make sense.

Can be contracted to わけわかんない.

あなたの話は わけがわからないわ。

Your story does not make sense.


What he says makes no sense to me at all.

わけだから since, because

Used to describe a conclusion that is logically drawn based on evidence. Generally used in Aわけだから〜B当然 pattern, indicating that B should happen, because A is the case. Often it is used when speaking about people other than the speaker (or to make the statement more objective when speaking about oneself.)


You were chosen by all of us, so it is only natural that you should work hard.


Since they are trying to build things on other people’s land, it is natural that aversion would be born.

わけではない it is not the case, it does not mean that

わけでもない is also common. Can be contracted to わけじゃない。

It has two basic uses:


Used to deny what someone can conclude or think (denies the wrong conclusion). It can be used as a euphemistic negation (for example when we don’t want to be rude to a superior at work, or a client or circumstances do not allow it for some reason). Often used with 特に (especially)、べつに(particularly)、からといって (just because).


I like cats but it doesn’t mean I keep one.

(Used when conversation partner might assume that speaker has a cat because he is so good with them etc)


Just because prices are high doesn’t mean it’s okay to steal!

A: 「Cさんは日本に十年以上住んでる。日本語が上手だろうね。」 B:「日本に長い間住んでも、日本語を話せるわけではないよ。」

A: “C has been living in Japan for over ten years. His Japanese is probably amazing, right?”

B: “Even if he has lived in Japan for a long time it doesn’t mean he can speak Japanese.”


Just because a river is beautiful does not mean that it is not dangerous.



Boss “This product will likely be a hit.”

Subordinate “However I think that consumers don’t like products like these .”



Patient “Thanks to you, Dr.Tanaka I feel much better than I did.”

Dr. Tanaka “Even if you get better, it does not mean that the illness is cured.”


Used when something cannot be entirely negated (partial negation).

Often used with phrases like 全部 (all)、みんな (everyone)、いつも(always)、誰でも(everyone)、必ずしも(not necessarily) etc.

「最初から ウソばかりだ」


“He did nothing but lie from the very beginning.”

“It does not mean that everything was a lie, but sometimes he lied.”


It is not like all of us think so. (Some do not.)



“You don’t know how to cook, right?”

It is not like I cannot cook. (I can cook, but not well.)

Sometimes the exact meaning (1 or 2) depends on context.


Exactly like わけではない, but can appear directly after adverbs, particles, volitional form, and quotations and seem to be more commonly used **with nouns and なadjectives** instead of なわけではない construction. In other words, it is more permissive.

私は映画が好きというわけではないが、月に2 、3 つは見る。

It is not like I like movies, but I see them 2,3 times a month.


It is not like I am completely happy right now.


It is not like we are trying to become a start-up.


Kappazon is not the first company to push e-readers on market, but the first to succeed.

わけがない impossible

Used to emphasize that something is impossible to happen (lit. there is no reason for something to happen). In casual speech shortened to わけない。Usually does not follow past form. can be replaced with はずがない (and unlike わけがない can follow past form)。


It is impossible to survive that crash.


Such a thing can’t happen.


There is no reason to not trust him.

わけない hassle-free, easy, hands down, naturally

An old-fashioned expression used to express that something is really simple. Do not confuse with わけない, contraction of わけがない.


Solving this problem is easy.


Sports always come naturally to him.

わけにはいかない cannot do, must not

Lit. “cannot do something”, unlike for example potential form or ことができる implies that the speaker cannot do something due to some reason, for example, social obligation, binding contract, etc.


Our company budget is in the red, we can’t afford to lose any more money.


I can’t die, I have someone important to me!

ないわけにはいかない no other choice but to

Lit. meaning “one can not do something”, implies that the speaker feels a sense of responsibility or duty to do something, for example, due to social obligation, past experiences, or current circumstances.


Since it is the wedding of my younger brother I have no other choice but to attend it.


Since he is my superior, I have no choice but to listen to his opinion.

And this is all folks,

I am mrnoone and that was ‘not so’ brief Japanese.





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