Japanese Adjectives

This page contains a table including the following: Japanese Adjectives and adverbs. Try to memorize the way they're used because they're very important in communication, and might be very helpful to convey your most important expressions. Make sure to check our Learn Japanese page, which contains several lessons that might help you in your learning process.

Japanese Adjectives


This article has not the goal to give you a list of all the adjectives in Japanese, but to explain to you what types of adjectives exist, and how they are used.

i-adjective

These adjectives end with a –i (with some exception) and are used as follows.

Normal form : Ureshii desu

Negative form : Ureshikunai desu

Past form : Ureshikatta desu

Past Negative : Ureshikunakatta desu

When you use them in a sentence, you just place them before the noun they refer too :

Ex : Ureshii jikan. うれしい時間. An happy moment.

       Kawaikunai neko. かわいくない猫. An ugly cat.

       Kono party ha tanokishatta desu. このパーテイはたのしかったです。This party was fun.

       Kare ga yasashikunakatta desu. 彼が優しくなかったです。He was not nice.

-Na adjective

These adjectives are used a bit differently :

Normal form : Shiawase da

Negative form : Shiawase ja nai

Past form : Shiawase datta

Past negative : shiawase ja nakatta

When you use these adjectives with a noun, you have to use the particle –na.

Ex : Kirei na inu. きれいな犬。A beautifull dog.

       Shizuka na niwa. 静かな庭。A calm garden.

      Kanojo ha shinsetsu datta. 彼女は親切だった。She was gentle.

     Kono mise ha nigiyaka ja nakatta. この店はにぎやかじゃなかった。This shop was not popular.

Adding adjectives

When you want to use more than one adjective, you have to « link » them with the following grammar :

When the 2 adjectives are both either positives or negatives, you can use them this way :

For the i-adjective : the last one is used as usual (tense, form) but all the ones before are used in the –Te form : Ureshii > ureshikute.

Ex : Yasukute akarui heya desu. 安くて明るい部屋です。It’s a cheap and bright room.

Takakute semakute tookatta apato desu. 高くて狭くて遠かったァパトです。It was an expensive, small and far away apartment.

Yasashikunakute kawaikunai neko desu. やさしくなくてかわいくない猫です。It’s not nice bad looking cat.

For the na-adjectives : you have to link them with –de and the last one is used as usual.

Ex : Kirei de shinsetsu na hito desu. きれいで親切な人です。It’s a beautifull and gentle person.

You can link –i and –na adjectives in the same way :

Ex : Shizuka ja nakute kurai kyoushitsu desu. 静かじゃなくて暗い教室です。It’s a not calm and dark class room.

Majime de yasashii hito desu.  まじめで優しい人です。It’s a serious and nice person.

Always remember that you should link adjectives that have the same positive or negative meaning.

If you want to link adjectives with opposite meaning, you can do it as follows :

Kirei desu ga takai desu. きれいですが高いです。It’s beautiful but it’s expensive.

Adverb

The i-adjective can become adverb when you replace the last –i by –ku and using them with a verb.

Ex :

(Samui) >Samuku narimashita. 寒くなりました。It became cold.

(Tanoshikunai) > Tanoshikunaku narimashita. 楽しくなくなりました。It became not fun.

(Hayai) Hayaku tabete kudasai. 早く食べてください。Eat quickly.

(Ookii) Ookiku kaite kudasai. 大きく書いてください。Write big.

(Chiisai) Chiisaku shite kudasai. 小さくしてください。Make it small.

The –na adjective can become an adverb by using –ni instead of –na to link with a verb.

Ex :

Shizuka ni shite kudasai. 静かにしてください。Be quiet.

Japanese Adjectives Types


So Basically Japanese adjectives come in two main forms: "true" and "adjectivial nouns." In some circles they are also known as "i adjectives" and "na adjectives" because those are the suffixes they get when they're followed by a noun. Nevertheless, we can call them "true" and "adjectivial nouns" in this page, here are some examples of both types:

    

True Adjectives Adjectivial Nouns
 
ii: goodkantan na: easy, as in easy to do
yoi: goodraku na: easy, as in an easy situation; comfortable
warui: badkara na: empty
takai: expensive; high; tallkirei na: pretty; clean
yasui: cheapkechi na: stingy (not generous)
hikui: lowbinbou na: poor; destitute
nagai: longhinpan na: frequent
mijikai: shortbenri na: convenient
katai: hardfuben na: inconvenient
yawarakai: softbusaiku na: clumsy; awkward
atsui: hottanki na: impatient; quick-tempered
samui: coldganko na: stubborn
tsumetai: coldbyouki na: sick
hiroi: wide; spaciousgenki na: healthy; to be feeling well
semai: narrow; crampedshizen na: natural, proper
tsuyoi: strongyutaka na: full; abundant
yowai: weakanzen na: safe
kitsui: strong kanzen na: perfect
abunai: dangerous
akarui: bright
kurai: dark
karui: light
omoi: heavy
furui: old
hayai: fast; early
osoi: slow; late
omoshiroi: interesting

Here is a list of the most used Japanese adjectives, try to memorize them because they're used very often:

    

English Japanese Adjectives Pronunciation
 
Bad悪い warui
Beautiful美しい utsukushi i
Cheap安い yasui
Clean汚れのない yogore nonai
Cold冷たい tsumeta i
Different異なる kotonaru
Difficult困難 konnan
Early早く hayaku
Easy簡単な kantan na
Friendlyフレンドリー furendori^
Good良い yoi
Heavy重い omoi
Important重要な juuyouna
Married結婚 kekkon
Natural自然 shizen
Nice素敵な suteki na
Open開く hiraku
Polite丁寧 teinei
Poor貧しい mazushii
Richリッチ ricchi
Sad悲しい kanashi i
Simple単純な tanjunna
Slowゆっくりした yukkurishita
Small小さな chiisa na
Sweet甘い amai
Tall背が高い sega takai
Warm暖かい atataka i
Well上手に jouzu ni
Worse悪化 akka
Worst最悪 saiaku
Wrong間違った machigatta

I hope the content of this page was useful to you, and that you learned some Japanese Adjectives. Try to memorize them to be able to use them in your daily conversation. Make sure to check our Learn Japanese page, which contains several lessons that might help you in your learning process.