Japanese Lesson 24 – How to use adjective in Japanese

Let’s learn adjective which is an important part of speech in Japanese.
You may feel that it is a little troublesome because it has the change at the end of the word like verb.

Two types of adjective

There are two types of adjective in Japanese.
One type is the adjective that the last part is “i”. (I call it “i-adjective”.)
Another type is the the adjective that the last part is “na”. (I call it “na-adjective”.)
Each type of the adjective has different inflection.

An adjective is either i-adjective or na-adjective, but there is no rule to fix the type.
So you have only to learn each adjective with the type.
But i-adjectives are more than na-adjectives.

First, please check the inflection.


Modification of noun by adjective

Modification of noun by adjective is easy to understand.
In Japanese, adjective as a modifier is put just before noun like English.

And the form of adjective is equal to the base form.
That’s very easy.

fast Shinkansen = hayai Shinkansen (> “Shinkansen” is Japanese bullet train.)
high mountain = takai yama
tasty sushi = oishii sushi
beautiful kimono = kireina kimono
kind nurse = shinsetsuna kangoshi

Adjective as complement of sentence

There is a way that adjective is put at the part of complement in a sentence to explain the condition or property of the subject.
To express this in Japanese, Frame-B is applied.


You have only to put an adjective at the part of complement.

At that time, you can put the base form of i-adjective, but you must put the stem word without “na” when you use na-adjective.

Shinkansen is fast.
Shinkansen wa hayai desu.

That kimono is beautiful.
Ano kimono wa kirei desu.

Of course, you can make the question by adding “ka?” at the end of the sentence.

Negative sentence of adjective


In Frame-B, the verb group becomes “de wa arimasen.” for the negative sentence. (See Lesson-14)
When adjective is put as complement, “de” is cut off.
And the end of the adjective changes to “ku” for i-adjective and “de” for na-adjective.
In addition, when i-adjective is used, “wa” in verb group is often omitted.

The bus is not fast.
Sono basu wa hayaku wa arimasen.
Sono basu wa hayaku arimasen.

That hotel is not calm.
Ano hoteru wa shizukade wa arimasen.

Adjective as adverb

The end part of i-adjective : change to “ku”
The end part of na-adjective : change to “ni”

These changed adjectives have the meaning of adverb.

He runs fast.
Kare wa hayaku hashiri masu.

I read a book quietly.
Watashi wa shizukani hon o yomi masu.

Past tense of Frame-B with adjective

When adjective is used as complement in Frame-B, the past tenses vary depending on i-adjective and na-adjective.

Adjective part (Complement) has the form of past tense.

Shinkansen was fast.
Shinkansen wa hayakatta desu.

“ta” which is an auxiliary verb meaning past is connected to the adjective.
In short, the end part of the adjective is changed to “katta”.

Adjective part (Complement) has the form of past tense.
Or, verb group has the form of past tense.
(This is the way you have already learned.)

That kimono was beautiful.
Ano kimono wa kireidatta desu.

Na-adjective has the past form, too.
At that time, the end part of the adjective is changed to “datta”.

About na-adjective, it is also OK to change the verb group.
(This way is never used when i-adjective.)

Ano kimono wa kirei deshita.

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