Now that we know the basics, we can turn it up a bit and learn more complicated things about adjectives and what we can do with it. Practice, practice, practice!

All about Japanese Adjectives

It has been quite a journey learning Japanese adjectives and we have discussed many things already. As you know, they are words that are derived from the senses and feelings in general and are used to describe nouns and objects. These words can vary between being found before or after the noun its trying to describe depending on how you have constructed your sentence.

There are 2 main categories of 形容詞 (keiyoushi/ adjectives) and these are na-keiyoushi and i-keiyoushi. Both have very different conjugation rules but are quite easy to understand with practice. Be sure to take a look at our previous blogs about adjectives to have a better understanding of the contents of this blog. We will discuss more about adjectives on this blog so hopefully, you will use them to your advantage!

Important takeaways

The only irregular adjective of Japan

As we have discussed before, there are two main categories of Japanese adjectives. We talked about na-keiyoushi and i-keiyoushi and their different forms and conjugations and although they are the main categories, there is one word in the Japanese language where these rules absolutely DO NOT apply. The word we are talking about is actually quite common and can be considered as quite an “easy” word to learn. The problem with that is how it might confuse beginner students because of how even though it is a commonly used word, normal rules for na and i keiyoushi do not apply to it.

This is word means “good”. It was originally spelled and used as よい(良い)but eventually became いい with time. Technically, it is considered as an i-keiyoushi but confusingly, i-adjective rules do not apply to it. We will discuss it through the table below so be sure to study it!

Positive form

EnglishRomajiJapanese
GoodYoi desu良いです
Good (casual)Yoi良い
Was goodYokatta desu良かったです
Was good (casual)Yokatta良かった

Negative form

EnglishRomajiJapanese
Not goodYoku arimasen良くありません
Not good (casual)Yoku nai良くない
Was not goodYoku arimasen deshita良くありませんでした
Was not  good (casual)Yoku na katta良くなかった

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Useful adjective endings for conversation

We have so far talked about past, present, positive, and negative forms of adjectives. Although these are the main basics that one has to know to masterfully use adjectives, language is an ever evolving thing and there is always something to learn. There are many useful suffixes (morphemes you add to the end of a word to change meaning) out there and we will discuss a few here, to further aid you in your journey to mastering adjectives. These are only a few examples for there are many out there!

Be sure to practice these suffixes with na and i keiyoushi and do not be scared to use them in sentences and conversations. After all, trial and error is the best teacher after practicing.

過ぎる (すぎる) — Too + [adj] (Ex. He is way too kind!)

I-keiyoushi 

Drop the final い and add すぎる

今日のピクニックは楽しすぎる!
Kyou no pikuniku wa tanoshi sugiru!
Todays picnic was too fun!
EnglishRomajiJapanese
Too cuteKawai sugiruかわいすぎる
Too funTanoshi sugiruたのしすぎる
Too sleepyNemu sugiruねむすぎる

Na-keiyoushi

Drop the です and add すぎる

昨日の試験はかんたんすぎですね。
Kinou no shiken wa kantan sugi desu ne.
Yesterday's test was too easy, wasn't it?
EnglishRomajiJapanese
Too convenientBenri sugiruべんりすぎる
Too quietShizuka sugiruしずかすぎる
Too easyKantan sugiruかんたんすぎる

くなる — Become + [adj]

(Ex. You’ll become better at Japanese if you study)

I-keiyoushi

Drop the final い and add くなる

野菜を食べたら、背が高くなる。
Yasai wo tabetara, se ga takakunaru.
Eating vegetables makes you become taller.
EnglishRomajiJapanese
Become tallerTaka kunaruたかくなる
Become happyUreshi kunaruうれしくなる
Become sweetAma kunaruあまくなる

Na-keiyoushi

Drop the です and add くなる

毎日勉強したら、上手くなる。
Mainichi benkyoushitara, uma kunaru.
Studying everyday will make you become better.
EnglishRomajiJapanese
Become betteruma ku naruうまくなる
Become free/not busyHima ninaruひまになる
Become poorBinbou ninaruびんぼうになる

そう — Looks like, seems like + [adj]

(Ex. It looks expensive!)

I-keiyoushi

  • Drop the final い and add そう
  • An i-adjective turns into a na-adjective when you add そう to it
  • ない (negative form) becomes なさそう
そのパソコンはたかそう。
Sono pasokon wa takasou.
That laptop looks expensive.
EnglishRomajiJapanese
Looks expensiveTaka souたかそう
Looks painfulIta souいたそう
Looks youngWaka souわかそう

Na-keiyoushi

Drop the です and add そう

その人は有名そうじゃない?
Sono hito wa yumei sou jya nai?
Doesn't that person seem famous?
EnglishRomajiJapanese
Seems famousYuumei souゆうめいそう
Seems not good at itHeta souへたそう
Seems bad/ disgustingIya souいやそう

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