Adjectives

Adjectives 5

 

Adjectives

 

An adjective is a word that modifies or describes a noun.  For instance, in the English phrase a big house, big is an adjective describing the noun house.  Japanese also has words that modify or describe nouns, but they do not work the same way as English adjectives.  For this reason, some linguists give them other names.    But most textbooks ignore this distinction and go ahead and call them adjectives, and so shall we.  As we shall immediately see, they are different.

 

There are two types of Japanese adjectives, usually called  (i) and  (na) respectively.  Like verbs, adjectives have a root and a dictionary form

 

The dictionary form of adjectives always ends with , as 地裁(chisai), おおきい ookii), たかいtakai, etc.  But be warned – not every adjective ending with I is an   adjective.  That is usually because the native form of the word is kanji, so there are no character   at the end. 

 

Also beware of Romaji.  Words that end with shi or ki or other characters that end with I are not words that end with .  So 元気 (genki) and 便利 (benri) are not i adjectives (they end with ki and ri, respectively). 

 

 

 

 Adjectives

 

いadjectives, also called by some verbal adjectives, can serve as a copula as well as an adjective.  Consider the following:

 

Ooki uchhi or

 

Big house

 

Uchi wa ooki desu

House is big

 

Uchu wa ookikunai  desu 

 

Not big house

Uchi wa ookiku arimasen

House is not big

 

    

Was big house

 Uchi wa ookikatta desu

House was big

 

 

House was not big

Uchi wa ookikatta desu

 

 

 

Notice that です does not have to change regardless of the tense – the adjective does the conjugation.  So おおき is not only an adjective, but also a verb - actually a copula;  perhaps should be called is big instead of just big.

 

Adjectives find use in another way: Japanese does not have the words that, which or who to use in sentences of the form the sushi that I ate.  Instead, it is said (the) I-ate sushi - watashi ga tabekatta sushi.

 

 

 

 (na) Adjectives

 

Na, or noun, adjectives, are those that are not  adjectives.  Again, consider the following:

 

Nigiyaka Shibuya

Lively Shibuya

Shibuya wa nirgiyaki desu

Shibuya is lively

 

 

 

 

Shibuya wa nigiyaki dewa arimasen 

 

 

 

Shibuya is not lively

Shibuya wa nigiyaki deshita 

Shibuya was lively

 

 

Shibuya wa nigiyaki dewa arimasen or

Hibuya wa nigiyaki ja nakatta desu

Shibua was not lively

 

 

 

If you compare this with the informal verb conjugation, you will see that the na adjective is a version of the copula da.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjective conjugation table

 

 

Dict

Non past

Past

Negative

Past negative

I adjective

~i

~ desu

~katta desu

~kunaai desu

~kunakatta desu

Ii  spciaal case

Ii. 

Ii desu

Yokatta desu

Yokunai desu

Yokunakatta desu

Na adjective

~

~ desu

~deshita

~ dewa arimasen

Or

~ja arimasen deshita

 

 

Examples:

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Adjectives

   

  Ooki

Big     

  Chisai

Small

Takai

Tall

Huikui

Short height, low vilume

Nagai

Long

Mijikai

Short length

Takai

Expensive

Yasui

Cheap

Omoi

Heavy

Karui

Light weight

Oishi

Delicious

Mazui

Bad taste

Atarashii

New

Furui

Old

Ammai

Sweet

Karai

Spicy

Chikai

Close

Tooi

Far

Hayai

Fast

Osoi

Slow

Kantan

Easy

Mizukashi

Difficult

Atsui

Hot (weather)

Samui

Cold (weather)

Atatakai

Warm

Suzushi

Cool

Omoshiroi

Funny/interesting

Tsumaranai

Boring

Ii

Good

Warui

Bad

Isogashi

Busy

Hima

Idle

Kire

Pretty/clean

Kitanai

Dirty

Migiyaka

Lively

Shizuka

Quiet

Benri

Convenient

Fuben

Inconveniiet

Genki

Healthy

Kawai

Cute

Shinsetsu

Kind

Yuumee

Famous

Hide

Flashy

Jimi

Drab

 

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