Guide to Japanese Adjectives

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A Japanese adjective can be divided into two parts, a stem and a suffix.  All adjectives fall under two categories: i-adjectives and na-adjectives.  Adjectives ending with the Hiragana suffix “い(i)” are i-adjectives. I-adjectives are also categorized as A1. The second type  is the na-adjective, A2. A2 takes な(na) before the noun that it modifies.

Examples of i-adjectives are “い(cold/samui)”, “難しい(harda/mutukasii)”, or “小さい(small/tiisai)”.

-暑夏です。

(It’s a hot summer)

Examples of na-adjectives are “静か(shizuka/quiet)”, “簡単(kantan/simple,easy)” or “便利(benri/convenient)”.

-静か町です。

(It’s a quiet neighborhood)

Note that some adjectives look like i-adjectives but are actually not. For instance, “有名(yuumei/famous)” is a na-adjective, because “i” is part of “名(mei)”, hence not to be mistaken as an い-ending. The same goes for “きれい(kirei/pretty,beautiful)”.  

You’ve probably noticed now that na-adjectives don’t end with “な” actually. That’s because a “な” is added only when it’s modifying a noun. We will talk about its usage as noun modifiers in the future. For now, we’ll focus on using な/A2 adjectives in the following statements. 

Japanese adjectives conjugate into different forms. In order to get this matter cleared up, below are the rules for Conjugations.

Adjectives Conjugations

Present

Past

Present Negative

Past Negative

I-Adj

(A1)

Plain

かった

くない

くなかった

Polite

いです

かったです

くないです

くありません

くなかったです

くありませんでした

Na-Adj

(A2)

Plain

便利

便利だった

便利では/じゃない

便利では/じゃなかった

Polite

便利です

便利でした

便利では/じゃありません

便利では/じゃありませんでした

We explain clearly about Japanese adjectives and how to use it with many examples in LingoDeer Japanese lessons. Start your LingoDeer Japanese learning journey now!

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