Study notes on Japanese adjectives


These days I am learning Japanese adjectives myself. Any basic Japanese language book can tell you that there are two types of adjectives – those ending with ‘い’ and those ending with ‘な’. The rules are quite clear on any textbook; so rather than repeating the rules, I just want to list some of my learning notes.

Firstly ‘い’ adjectives always end with ‘い’ but ‘な’ adjectives only require a ‘な’ if they are followed by a noun – so ‘な’ is more like a conjunctive part. In other words, if there is no noun after a ‘な’ adjective, it doesn’t need to show up.

  • このりょうりはおいしいです。
  • おいしいりょうり
  • このしごとはだいへんです。
  • だいへんしごと <=== here な is only required as it’s followed by a noun.

Then colours are a bit funny – only red, black, white, blue, yellow, brown are ‘い’ adjectives. Any other colours can just be used as a noun at the end of a sentence. If they need to be used in front of a noun, they need to have a ‘の’ before the noun.

  • しろいけいたい
  • そらはあおいです。
  • むらさきはな <==== here の is required to connect to a noun.
  • はなはむらさきです。

There are some more words which doesn’t look like adjective but they are. I’ve encountered 2 so far – ‘like’ and ‘dislike’. So if I want to say ‘I like dogs.’ or ‘I hate the winter.’, they are actually said with an adjective. This is very different from a lot of languages.

  • わたしはいぬがすきです。<=== I like dogs. But ‘like’ is used as an adjective.
  • わたしはふゆがきらいです。<=== I hate winter. But ‘hate’ is used as an adjective.

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