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X(では/じゃ)なく(て)Y as “not X but Y”

X(では/じゃ)なく(て)Y as “not X but Y”

This simple grammar construction is used to clarify that Y, not X, is what a given statement applies to. It is typically used with nouns but can also be used with phrases, usually indicated as such in quotation marks. The て in the construction is optional, and the では is used in written form while the じゃ is used in spoken language.


Sumimasen, sore wa anata no kaban jyankute watashi no kaban desu.
(Excuse me, that’s actually not your bag but mine.)

A, machigatta, George Washington no osusume wa kono restaurant jyanakute ano restaurant da.
(Ah, I messed up, George Washington’s recommendation isn’t this resturant, but rather, that one.)

Watashi wa kankokugo dewanaku nihongo ga hanaseru.
(I can speak Japanese, not Korean.)