Qualität über Quantität: Japanisch werden Adjektive into Nouns by Using み :Welcome to the wonderful world of Japanese learning! Boy, do we have an intriguing Grammatik point for you today! We’re going to learn how to convey the quality (versus quantity) of something by adding み (mi) bis zum Ende von ich-Adjektive. Strap on your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!

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Turning Japanese Adjectives into Nouns by Using み

Adding み (mi) bis zum Ende von Japanese iAdjektive follows roughly the same rules as adding さ (sa). Both of them turn Japanese i-Adjektive into nouns; however, the meaning changes depending on which one you use. Adding さ conveys the quantity of the noun that is objective (i.e. nicht up for debate). Adding み, on the other hand, conveys the quality of the noun, which is subjective (i.e. up for debate). 

Before we begin with a more in-depth explanation of the differences between adding み versus さ, let’s review some common Japanese iAdjektive associated with the suffix み.  

Japanisch I-Adjektiv Rezension

As opposed to さ, み is only used in a limited amount of situations. Here are a few common Japanese iAdjektive associated with adding み.

楽 楽 しtanoshiiSpaß
悲 悲 しkanashiisad
痛 痛itaischmerzlich
苦 苦 しkurushiistrenuous


Geemu sentaa wa totemo tanoshikatta!
The arcade was really fun!
Ichi-nichi juuni-jikan no shigoto wa kurushii yo!
Working twelve hours a day is really strenuous!

Working twelve hours a day is really strenuous!

Adding さ to ICH-Adjektive to Convey Quantity

As you may have learned, adding さ to an ichAdjektiv turns it into a noun. Think of it like adding “-ness” to an Adjektiv in English (e.g. tasty  ➝ tastiness, sweet ➝ sweetness). In order to add さ to an ichAdjektiv, entfernen Sie einfach das Finale Hiragana Zeichen い (ich) and replace it with さ. The meaning of the resulting noun refers to the objective quantity of the noun. Take a look at the table below and see how the meaning changes.

楽 し  ➝ 楽しさTanoshiich  ➝ tanoshisafun  ➝ (amount of) fun
悲し  ➝ 悲しさkanashiich  ➝ kanashisasad  ➝ (amount of) sadness
  ➝ 痛さitaich  ➝ itasapainful  ➝ (amount of) pain
苦し  ➝ 苦しさkurushiich  ➝ kurushisa strenuous  ➝ (amount of) strain
  ➝ 旨さumaich  ➝ umasaflavorful  ➝ (amount of) flavor

Take a look at the examples below to see how adding さ conveys objective quantity.

Sensei wa nihongo no tanoshisa wo kodomo ni oshiemashita.
The teacher taught the kids the fun of Japanese.
[Lit. “The teacher taught the kids the amount of fun they could experience (e.g. dancing and singing “Ohayou Gozaimasu” songs) through learning Japanese.]
Kanojo wa kanashisa wo kakusu tame ni waraimashita.
She laughed in order to hide her sadness.
[Lit. “She laughed in order to hide the degree of sadness apparent on her face.”]
Itasa wa ichi kara juu made wo erande kudasai.
On a scale of 1-10, how much pain are you in?
[Lit. “On a scale of 1-10, what is the amount of pain that you feel?]

Do you see now how adding さ conveys a sense of objective quantity or amount?

Adding み to ICH-Adjektive to Convey Quality

Now that we have seen how adding さ to ich-Adjektive conveys quantity, it’s now time to add み to ichAdjektive in order to convey a subjective quality.

When talking about quantity, we have data, objective evidence, and common sense to back up our statements. However, when talking about quality, we have nothing but our own personal opinions. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is a human phenomenon, and the way to explain why you view this man’s trash as a treasure is through adding the suffix み to your ich-Adjektive

In the table below, we will take the same ich-Adjektive from above and add み to the end instead of さ. Watch how the meaning changes.

楽 し  ➝ 楽しみTanoshisa  ➝ tanoshimi(amount of) fun  ➝ (quality of) fun
悲し  ➝ 悲しみkanashisa  ➝ kanashimi(amount of) sadness  ➝ (depth of) sadness
  ➝ 痛みitasa  ➝ itami(amount of) pain  ➝ (depth of) pain
苦し  ➝ 苦しみkurushisa  ➝ kurushimi (amount of) strain  ➝ (depth of) strain
  ➝ 旨みumasa  ➝ Umami(amount of) flavor  ➝ (quality of) flavor

Take a look at the examples below to see how adding み conveys subjective quality.

Mata kondo au no wo tanoshimi ni shite imasu!
I’m looking forward to meeting you again!
[Lit. “I feel that meeting you again will be good quality fun!”]
Otoosan ga inakunatte kokoro kara kanashimi desu.
I feel your father’s death from the bottom of my heart.
[Lit. “Your father died, and there is a deep sadness in my heart.”]
Senaka no itami wa kurushii desu.
The pain in my back is really unbearable.
[Lit. “On my personal scale, the depth of pain I experience in my back is at “unbearable.”]
Miso wa sozai no umami wo hiki dashimasu.
The miso brings out the flavor of the ingredients.
[Lit. “The miso brings out the succulent flavor (well, in my opinion, anyway) of the ingredients.”]

Do you see now how adding み conveys a subjective sense of quality or depth?

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In summary, adding さ or み to the end of ich-Adjektive turns them into nouns. Adding さ indicates an objective quantity or amount. Adding み, on the other hand, indicates a subjective sense of quality or depth.

So, which do you use, み or さ? With advanced Grammatik points such as this, there is no definitive answer, and even native Japanese speakers debate on their correct usage. 

So? What can you do?? 

Well, you can get out there and trainieren for starters! Conjugate an ich-Adjektiv with your Japanese speaking partner and see if it works. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, you’ll learn a great lesson that you can add to your arsenal of Japanese language mastery.

Geh raus und trainieren, trainieren, trainieren!

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