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Japanese Adjectives 形容詞

What is an Japanese Adjective ?

Adjectives are words that describe the qualities or states of being of nouns: enormous, doglike, silly, yellow, fun, fast. They can also describe the quantity of nouns: many, few, millions, eleven.”

Adjectives in Japanese are really useful for describing things and also really easy to use!

First we must learn the 2 types of adjectives, “I” adjective and “Na” adjectives.

Here is a list of some common I adjectives:

大きい

ookii

big, large

小さい

chiisai

short

高い

takai

expensive

安い

yasui

cheap

良い

yoi

good

悪い

warui

bad

背が高い

se ga takai

tall

背が低い

se ga hikui

short

美しい

utsukushii

beautiful

醜い

minikui

ugly

So, why do they call these things “i” adjectives, you guessed it they all end in “i”

Now we need to learn the second type of adjective, “Na” adjectives. Here are some examples:

 

簡単

kantan

simple

複雑

fukuzatsu

complicated

静か

shizuka

quite

迷惑

meiwaku

troublesome

So, why do they call these things “na” adjectives, well basically … they don’t end in “i”

So why do they call them “Na” adjectives? Well, this comes when we start to describe nouns.

Let’s now start describing some nouns like big dog, small boy and easy question.

With the “I” adjectives it is extremely simple, we just put the adjective in front of the noun.

Ookii hon-Big Book-大きい本-おおきいほん

Chiisai ki –Small Tree   –小さい木-ちいさいき

Muzukashii shitsumon-Difficult Question-難しい質問-むずかしいしつもん

As you can see it’s really easy to utilize these adjectives, you simply but them before the noun and don’t change anything.

Now with the Na adjectives this is where the “Na” comes in. All you need to do is use “Na ” to join the adjective to the noun.

Here are some examples.

Kantan na hon^Easy Book-簡単な本-かんたんなほん

Shizuka na heya –Quiet room-しずかなへや-静かな部屋

As you can see all you do is add the “Na” after the adjective and before the thing you are describing.

There are however a few exceptions to the rule such as “Kirei” “きれい” Even though this ends with an I い it is actually a na adjective. There are a few cases like this but not too many so watch out, you will soon get used to these few exceptions.

There we have it, you can now add adjectives to nouns in Japanese. Well done you!

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