How to Say “And” in Japanese: Linking Adjectives with くて :And now, the lesson you’ve all been waiting for…how to to say “and” in Japanese! Actually, there are many ways to convey “and,” but today, we’re only focusing on iadjectives. In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to say “and” by using くて (kute) to link two or more iadjectives in one sentence.

TOP 15 BASIC Japanese i-adjectives You must know first in Japanese | Japanese language lesson

Japanese Adjective Review

Before we begin, let’s review a few common adjectives

In Japanese, there are two types of adjectives: iadjectives and naadjectives. I-adjectives end in the hiragana character い (i), and naadjectives end in な. Today, we are only focusing on iadjectives.

Japanese I-ADJECTIVES

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
柔らかいyawarakaisoft
軽いkaruilight
若いwakaiyoung
優しいyasashiikind
強いtsuyoistrong
高いtakaihigh/tall
古いfuruiold
汚いkitanaidirty
明るいakaruibright
暗いkuraidark

Now that we’ve familiarized ourselves with a few common iadjectives, let’s create a some sentences utilizing them.

Note: Adding です (desu) to the end of the sentence makes it formal. Leaving it out makes the sentence casual.

このブランケットは柔らかいです。
Kono buranketto wa yawarakai desu.
This blanket is soft.
数学の先生は若い。
Suugaku no sensei wa wakai.
The math teacher is young.
風が強いです。
Kaze ga tsuyoi desu.
The wind is strong.
あのホテルは古い。
Ano hoteru wa furui.
That hotel is old.
彼女は性格が明るいです。
Kanojo wa seikaku ga akarui desu.
She has a bright personality.

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Why Link Multiple Adjectives into One Sentence? 

Let’s say you want to describe the features of a man in English. If you want to say that he’s strong and handsome, you don’t say: 

😐The man is strong. The man is handsome.

That would get boring after a while, making a separate sentence for every feature. If we’re only describing one person (or thing), it’s much less repetitive to just link the adjectives together with “and” and form one sentence. Like so:

😀The man is strong and handsome.

There, that sounds much better!

The same goes for Japanese. When listing multiple features of one person or thing, keeping it all in one sentence by linking the adjectives makes for a much more concise description. 

However, when linking two or more iadjectives in Japanese, there is no “and.” You have to conjugate the i-adjective into the -te form in order to convey “and.” 

How to Conjugate I-Adjectives into the –Te Form

There are two steps when conjugating an iadjective into the -te form.

Step 1: Change the I-Adjective into the Nai (Negative) Form

In order to change an iadjective into the nai form, you simply remove the final い character and replace it with くない (kunai). Check it out below!

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Japanese I-ADJECTIVES (NEGATIVE FORM)

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
柔らか  ➝ 柔らかくないyawarakai  ➝ yawarakakunaisoft  ➝ not soft
  ➝ 若くないwakai  ➝ wakakunaiyoung  ➝ not young
  ➝ 強くないtsuyoi  ➝ tsuyokunaistrong  ➝ not strong
  ➝ 古くないfurui  ➝ furukunaiold  ➝ not old
明る  ➝ 明るくないakarui  ➝ akarukunaibright  ➝ not bright

Step 2: Change the Nai Form into the –Te Form

In order to change the nai form into the –te form, you simply remove the ない (nai) at the end of the word and replace it with て (te). 

Japanese I-ADJECTIVES (-TE FORM)

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
柔らかくない  ➝ 柔らかくてyawarakakunai  ➝ yawarakakutenot soft  ➝ soft and…
若くない  ➝ 若くてwakakunai  ➝ wakakutenot young  ➝ young and…
強くない  ➝ 強くてtsuyokunai  ➝ tsuyokutenot strong  ➝ strong and…
古くない  ➝ 古くてfurukunai  ➝ furukutenot old  ➝ old and…
明るくない  ➝ 明るくてakarukunai  ➝ akarukutenot bright  ➝ bright and…

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How to Link Two (or More) I-Adjectives in One Sentence

Now that we know how to conjugate iadjectives into the -te form, let’s make some sentences! In order to connect two (or more) iadjectives in one sentence, you just add as many i-adjectives in their -te form as you want. The final adjective is NOT conjugated into the -te form. 

Note: The tense of the final adjective determines the tense of the sentence.

Let’s look at some examples below. The first example is the boring one that uses two separate sentences to describe one thing. The second one is the better one that describes it all in one sentence.

Examples:

😐このブランケットは柔らかいです。このブランケットは軽いです。😐
Kono buranketto wa yawarakai desu. Kono buranketto wa karui desu.😐
This blanket is soft. This blanket is light.
😀このブランケットは柔らかくて軽いです。😀
Kono buranketto wa yawarakakute karui desu.😀
This blanket is soft and light.
数学の先生は若くて優しかった。
Suugaku no sensei wa wakakute yasashikatta.
The math teacher was young and kind.
風が強くて、波は高いです。
Kaze ga tsuyokute, nami wa takai desu.
The wind is strong, and the waves are high.
あのホテルは古くて、暗くて、汚かった。
Ano hoteru wa furukute, kurakute, kitanakatta.
That hotel was old, dark, and dirty.
彼女は性格が明るくて優しいです。
Kanojo wa seikaku ga akarukute yasashii desu.
She has a bright and kind personality.null

In Summary

For brevity’s sake and to avoid unnecessary repetition, when describing one person or thing, we combine the adjectives into one sentence. In English, we use “and” to link adjectives. In Japanese, iadjectives have to be conjugated into the -te form in order to be linked. 

The -te form is created in two steps. First, you change the i-adjective into the negative (nai) form. Second, you remove the “nai” at the end of the word and replace it with “te.

The tense of the sentence is determined by the tense of the final adjective.

Now that you have a new grammar point under your belt, it’s time to get out there and practice it! Remember, practice makes perfect, so make a date with your Japanese speaking partner today, and let’s get to it!   

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