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All About Adjectives
Part 2: The Use of Adjectives
More of this Feature
I-Adjectives and Na-Adjectives

Page 2 of 2

Modifying Nouns

When used as modifiers of nouns, both i-adjectives and na-adjectives take the basic form, and precede nouns just like in English.

I-Adjectives chiisai inu
小さい犬
small dog
takai tokei
高い時計
expensive watch
Na-Adjectives yuumeina gaka
有名な画家
famous painter
sukina eiga
好きな映画
favorite movie

I-Adjectives as Predicates

As mentioned on the previous page, adjectives can function like verbs. Therefore, they conjugate just like verbs (but probably much more simply).

Informal Present Negative Replace the final ~ i with ~ ku nai
Past Replace the final ~ i with ~ katta
Past Negative Replace the final ~ i with ~ ku nakatta
Formal Add ~desu to all of the informal forms.
There is also a variation in the formal negative forms.
* Negative: Replace ~i with ~ku arimasen
* Past Negative: Add ~ deshita to ~ku arimasen
These negative forms are considered slightly more polite than others.

Here is how the adjective "takai (expensive)" is conjugated.

Informal Formal
Present takai
高い
takai desu
高いです
Present Negative takaku nai
高くない
takaku nai desu
高くないです
takaku arimasen
高くありません
Past takakatta
高かった
takakatta desu
高かったです
Past Negative takaku nakatta
高くなかった
takaku nakatta desu
高くなかったです
takaku arimasen deshita
高くありませんでした

There is only one exception to the rule of i-adjectives, which is "ii (good)". "Ii" derives from "yoi," and its conjugation is mostly based on "yoi".

Informal Formal
Present ii
いい
ii desu
いいです
Present Negative yoku nai
良くない
yoku nai desu
良くないです
yoku arimasen
良くありません
Past yokatta
良かった
yokatta desu
良かったです
Past negative yoku nakatta
良くなかった
yoku nakatta desu
良くなかったです
yoku arimasen deshita
良くありませんでした

Na-Adjectives as Predicates

They are called na-adjectives because "~ na" marks this group of adjectives when directly modifying noun (e.g. yuumeina gaka). Unlike i-adjectives, na-adjectives cannot be used as predicates themselves. When a na-adjective is used as a predicate, the final "na" is deleted and followed by either "~ da" or "~ desu (in formal speech)". As with nouns, "~ da" or "~ desu" changes its form to express the past tense, the negative, and the affirmative.

Informal Formal
Present yuumei da
有名だ
yuumei desu
有名です
Present Negative yuumei dewa nai
有名ではない
yuumei dewa arimasen
有名ではありません
Past yuumei datta
有名だった
yuumei deshita
有名でした
Past negative yuumei dewa nakatta
有名ではなかった
yuumei dewa
arimasen deshita
有名ではありませんでした

I-Adjectives and Na-Adjectives > Page 1, 2

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