Introduction to Japanese Adjectives Flashcards

Terms Definitions
This is a programmed study activity. Please review the cards in the order presented. Some cards clearly require an answer. Other cards, marked with" 次のカード" (like this one!) just require that you just proceed to the next card, without f
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In Japanese, there are basically two kinds of adjectives: -i adjectives (also called verbal adjectives), which end with "i" and -na adjectives (also called adjectival nouns). 次のカード
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These two types of adjectives are used somewhat differently, and they are grammatically distinct. 次のカード
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What are the two different types of Japanese adjectives?
-i-adjectives (verbal adjectives) and na-adjectives (adjectival nouns).
Because these two types of adjectives are used differently, it is important to be able to distinguish between them. This is made slighly more difficult because, while all -i adjectives end with "i," some adjectives that end with "i" ar
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How can you tell whether the adjective kirei is an -i adjective or a -na adjective, just by looking at it?
You can't! You just have to KNOW.
What this means is that when you learn adjectives, you should learn them as -i or -na adjectives. For example, when you learn the adjective kirei, which is a -na adjective, you should memorize it as kirei-na, not as kirei, so that you will think of it as
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Why is it important to distinguish between -i adjectives and -na adjectives?
Because they are used differently.
For our purposes, there are five ways to use an adjective in a sentence. For example, consider the adjective "good." We can say 1."It is good," 2. "It isn't good," 3. "It was good," and 4. "It wasn't good.&quot
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Now we're going to use -i adjectives as predicates. These adjectives conjugate according to the tense. Consider the -i adjective "takai" (high or expensive). If we want to say "The camera is expensive," it's as simple as "Kamera w
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For the following cards, use the -i adjective to make the requested sentence. Give both plain and polite forms. 次のカード
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(Ookii). The boy is big.
Otokonoko wa ookii.

Otokonoko wa ookii desu.
(Chiisai) The girl is small.
Onnanoko wa chiisai.

Onnnanoko wa chiisai desu.
(Takai) This building is tall.
Kono biru wa takai.

Kono biru wa takai desu.
(Minikui) Our house is ugly.
Watashitachi no uchi wa minikui.

Watashitachi no uchi wa minikui desu.
(Utsukushii) That movie is beautiful.
Sono eiga wa utsukushii.

Sono eiga wa utsukushii desu.
(Kashikoi) He is intelligent.
Kare wa kashikoi.

Kare wa kashikoi desu.
(Hayai) We are early.
Watashitachi wa hayai.

Watashitachi wa hayai desu.
(Osoi) They are late.
Karera wa osoi.

Karera wa osoi desu.
(Omoshiroi). This book is interesting.
Kono hon wa omoshiroi.

Kono hon wa omoshiroi desu.
(Muzukashi) This problem is difficult.
Kono mondai wa muzukashii.

Kono mondai wa muzukashii desu.
(Atsui) The drink(s) is/are hot.
Nomimono wa atsui.

Nomimono wa atsui desu.
(Samui) The water is cold.
Mizu wa samui.

Mizu wa samui desu.
(Yasashii) They (all females) are easygoing.
Kanojora wa yasashii.

Kanojora wa yasashii desu.
(Warui) This is very bad.
Kore wa totemo warui.

Kore wa totemo warui desu.
(ii) This is good.
Kore wa ii.

Kore wa ii desu.
(oishii) The pickles are delicious.
Tsukemono wa oishii.

Tsukemono wa oishii desu.
So to review: what is the formula for using an i-adjective in the present tense as a predicate?
Simply state the adjective with or without desu, and without conjugation.

Subj + wa + adj +/- desu.
Let's review the adjectives we've already used, because you won't get hints on them again! 次のカード
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tall/expensive.
takai
big
ookii
ugly
minikui
beautiful
utsukushii
intelligent
kashikoi
interesting
omoshiroi
early/fast
hayai
late/slow
osoi
hot
atsui
cold
samui
easy/nice, gentle, easygoing
yasashii
bad
warui
good
ii
delicious
oishii
Now, how do we use -na adjectives as predicates in the present tense? Well--we do it exactly the same as with -i adjectives! Just stick the adjective onto the end of the sentence. HOWEVER, you cannot use the adjective alone, as with an -i adjective. You m
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Can you give the formula for using -na adjectives as present tense predicates?
Subj + wa + adject (without -na) + desu/da.
For the following cards, use the -na adjective to make the requested sentence. Give both plain and polite forms. 次のカード
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(Benri-na) This hotel is convenient.
Kono hoteru wa benri da.

Kono hoteru wa benri desu.
(Fuben-na) This store is not convenient.
Kono mise wa fuben da.

Kono mise wa fuben desu.
(Kirei-na) This room is clean.
Kono heya wa kirei da.

Kono heya wa kirei desu.
(Anzen-na) This thing is safe.
Kono mono wa anzen da.

Kono mono wa anzen desu.
(Shizuka-na) It's quiet.
Shizuka da.

Shizuka desu.
(Kakkouii-na) That's cool.
Sore wa kakkouii da.

Sore wa kakkouii desu.
(Yuuyou-na). This book is helpful.
Kono hon wa yuuyou da.

Kono hon wa yuuyou desu.
(Rikou-na) He is very clever.
Kare wa rikou da.

Kare wa rikou desu.
(Tanki-na.) Mom is quick-tempered.
Haha wa tanki da.

Haha wa tanki desu.
(Byouki-na). I am very sick.
Watashi wa totemo byouki da.

Watashi wa totemo byouki desu.
(Genki-na). Are you well?
O-genki desu ka? (Best not to use plain form for this sentence.)
(Binbou-na). They are destitute.
Karera wa binbou da.

Karera wa binbou desu.
(Kantan-na). Those problems are simple.
Sorera no mondai wa kantan da.

Sorera no mondai wa kantan desu.
Let's review the -na adjectives we just used, because you'll be expected to know them in future examples. 次のカード
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convenient
benri-na
inconvenient
fuben-na
pretty/clean
kirei-na
safe
anzen-na
quiet
shizuka-na
cool/attractive
kakkouii-na
helpful
yuuyou-na
quick-tempered/irritable
tanki-na
clever
rikou-na
sick
byouki-na
robust/healthy
genki-na
destitute/impovershed
binbou-na
easy/simple
kantan-na
Now we'll turn our attention to using adjectives as negative predicates. As we've noted previously, -i adjectives conjugate depending on the tense. When used in the negative present tense, -i adjectives drop the i and add -ku. The sentence is finished by
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The boy isn't big.
Otokonoko wa ookikunai.

Otokonoko wa ookikunai desu.

Otokonoko wa ookiku arimasen.
The girl isn't small.
Onnanoko wa chiisakunai.

Onnanoko wa chiisakunai desu.

Onnnanoko wa chiisaku arimasen.
This building isn't tall.
Kono biru wa takaikunai.

Kono biru wa takakunai desu.

Kono biru wa takaku arimasen.
Our house isn't ugly.
Watashitachi no uchi wa minikukunai.

Watashitachi no uchi wa minikukunai desu.

Watashitachi no uchi wa minikukunai arimasen.
That movie isn't beautiful.
Sono eiga wa utsukushikunai.

Sono eiga wa utsukushikunai desu.

Sono eiga wa ustukushiku arimasen.
He isn't intelligent.
Kare wa kashikokunai.

Kare wa kashikokunai desu.

Kare wa kashikoku arimasen.
We aren't early.
Watashitachi wa hayakunai.

Watashitachi wa hayakunai desu.

Watashitachi wa hayaku arimasen.
They aren't late.
Karera wa osokunai.

Karera wa osokunai desu.

Karera wa osoku arimasen.
This book isn't interesting.
Kono hon wa omoshiroikunai.

Kono hon wa omoshirokunai desu.

Kono hon wa omoshiroku arimasen.
This problem isn't difficult.
Kono mondai wa muzukashikunai.

Kono mondai wa muzukashikunai desu.

Kono mondai wa muzukashiku arimasen.
The drink(s) isn't/aren't hot.
Nomimono wa atsuikunai.

Nomimono wa atsuikunai desu.

Nomimono wa atsuku arimasen.
The water isn't cold.
Mizu wa samukunai.

Mizu wa samukunai desu.

Mizu wa samuku arimasen.
They (all females) aren't easygoing.
Kanojora wa yasashikunai desu.

Kanojora wa yasashikunai desu.

Kanojora wa yasashiku arimasen.
This isn't very bad.
Kore wa amari warukunai.

Kore wa amari warukunai desu.

Kore wa amari waruku arimasen.
This isn't good.
Kore wa yokunai.

Kore wa yokunai desu.

Kore wa yoku arimasen.
The pickles aren't delicious.
Tsukemono wa oishikunai.

Tsukemono wa oishikunai desu.

Tsukemono wa oishiku arimasen.
Now let's talk about using -na adjectives as negative predicates. Once again, we drop the -na-...we ALWAYS drop the -na when using the adjective as a predicate. But we don't conjugate as with -i adjectives. Instead, we use a negative form of desu--either
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For the following examples, give the translation using both of the ja- forms. (Dewa and ja are basically the same, so you'll really practicing all three forms.) 次のかーど.
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This hotel isn't convenient.
Kono hoteru wa benri ja nai.

Kono hoteru wa benri ja arimasen.
This store isn't inconvenient.
Kono mise wa fuben ja nai.

Kono mise wa fuben ja arimasen.
This room isn't clean.
Kono heya wa kirei ja nai.

Kono heya wa kirei ja arimasen.
This thing isn't safe.
Kono mono wa anzen ja nai.

Kono mono wa anzen ja arimasen.
It's not quiet.
Shizuka ja nai.

Shizuka ja arimasen.
That's not cool.
Sore wa kakkouii ja nai.

Sore wa kakkouii ja arimasen.
This book isn't helpful.
Kono hon wa yuuyou ja nai.

Kono hon wa yuuyou ja arimasen.
He isn't very clever.
Kare wa rikou ja nai.

Kare wa rikou ja arimasen.
Mom isn't quick-tempered.
Haha wa tanki ja nai.

Haha wa tanki ja arimasen.
I am not very sick.
Watashi wa amari byouki ja nai.

Watashi wa amari byouki ja arimasen.
You aren't well.
O-genki ja arimasen. (Best not to use plain form for this sentence.)
They aren't destitute.
Karera wa binbou ja nai.

Karera wa binbou ja arimasen.
Those problems aren't simple.
Sorera no mondai wa kantan ja nai.

Sorera no mondai wa kantan ja arimasen.
Let's review: what are the formulas for use of present-tense adjectives in Japanese?
-i adjectives:

AFF: Subj+ wa + adj +/- desu.

NEG: Subj + wa + adj + kunai or ku arimasen.

-----
-na adjectives:

AFF: Subj + wa + adj + da/desu.

NEG: Subj + wa + adj + janai/ja arimasen/dewa arimasen.
Now we'll look at adjectives in the past tense. For the positive past tense -i adectives conjugate, dropping the final -i and adding the suffix -katta. For example, takai, "tall," becomes takakatta, "was tall." To make the sentence a l
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Once again, -na adjectives do not conjugate in the past tense, but instead use the past tense of desu, deshita or datta. We won't be using the datta form, but you should know it's out there. 次のかーど.
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For the following examples, give the past affirmative form(s). For this part of the program, we'll be mixing up the -i and -na adjectives, and force you to keep them straight. 次のかーど.
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This thing was safe.
Kono mono wa anzen deshita.
It was quiet.
Shizuka deshita.
The boy was big.
Otokonoko wa ookikatta.
He was very clever.
Kare wa totemo rikou deshita.
The girl was small.
Onnanoko wa chiisakatta.

Onnanoko wa chiisakatta desu.
This room was clean.
Kono heya wa kirei deshita.
He was intelligent.
Kare wa kashikokatta.

Kare wa kashikokatta desu.
We were early.
Watashitachi wa hayakatta.

Watashitachi wa hayakatta desu.
They were late.
Karera wa osokatta.

Karera wa osokatta desu.
This store was inconvenient.
Kono mise wa fuben deshita.
This building was tall.
Kono biru wa takakatta.

Kono biru wa takakatta desu.
Our house was ugly.
Watashitachi no uchi wa minikukatta.

Watashitachi no uchi wa minikukatta desu.
That movie was beautiful.
Sono eiga wa utsukushikatta.

Sono eiga wa utsukushikatta desu.
They were destitute.
Karera wa binbou deshita.
The problems were simple.
Mondai wa kantan deshita.
The water was cold.
Mizu wa samukatta.

Mizu wa samukatta desu.
They (all females) were easygoing.
Kanojora wa yasashikatta.

Kanojora wa yasashikatta desu.
This was very bad.
Kore wa totemo warukatta.

Kore wa amari warukatta desu.
This was good.
Kore wa yokatta.

Kore wa yokatta desu.
The pickles were delicious.
Tsukemono wa oishikatta.

Tsukemono wa oishikatta desu.
This hotel was convenient.
Kono hoteru wa benri deshita.
That was cool.
Sore wa kakkouii deshita.
This book was helpful.
Kono hon wa yuuyou deshita.
Mom was quick-tempered.
Haha wa tanki deshita.
I was very sick.
Watashi wa totemo byouki deshita.
You were well.
O-genki deshita.
They were destitute.
Karera wa binbou deshita.
Those problems were easy.
Sorera no mondai wa kantan deshita.
This book was interesting.
Kono hon wa omoshirokatta.

Kono hon wa omoshirokatta desu.
This problem was difficult.
Kono mondai wa muzukashikatta.

Kono mondai wa muzukashikatta desu.
The drink(s) was/were hot.
Nomimono wa atsukatta.

Nomimono wa atsukatta desu.
Now we'll go after the past negative tense of adjectives. Once again, the -i adjectives conjugate. Drop the i and add -kunakatta, -kunakatta desu, or -ku arimasen deshita. 次のかーど.
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As past-negative predicates, -na adjectives must of course drop the -na, and then take a past negative form of desu: ja nakatta, ja arimasen deshita, or dewa arimasen deshita. Simple!
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For the following examples, give the past negative form(s). Once again, we'll be mixing up the -i and -na adjectives. You should know them all by now. 次のかーど.
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This thing wasn't safe.
Kono mono wa anzen ja nakatta.

Kono mono wa anzen ja arimasen deshita.
It wasn't quiet.
Shizuka ja nakatta.

Shizuka ja arimasen deshita.
The boy wasn't big.
Otokonoko wa ookikunakatta.

Otokonoko wa ookikunakatta desu.

Otokonoko wa ookiku arimasen deshita.
He wasn't very clever.
Kare wa amari rikou ja nakatta.

Kare wa amari rikou ja arimasen deshita.
The girl wasn't small.
Onnanoko wa chiisakunakatta.

Onnanoko wa chiisakunakatta desu.

Onnanoko wa chiisaku arimasen deshita.
This room wasn't clean.
Kono heya wa kirei ja nakatta.

Kono heya wa kirei ja arimasen deshita.
He wasn't intelligent.
Kare wa kashikokunakatta.

Kare wa kashikokunakatta desu.

Kare wa kashikoku arimasen deshita.
We weren't early.
Watashitachi wa hayakunakatta.

Watashitachi wa hayakunakatta desu.

Watashitachi wa hayaku arimasen deshita.
They weren't late.
Karera wa osokunakatta.

Karera wa osokunakatta desu.

Karera wa osoku arimasen deshita.
This store was not inconvenient.
Kono mise wa fuben ja nakatta.

Kono mise wa fuben ja arimasen deshita.
This building was not tall.
Kono biru wa takakunakatta.

Kono biru wa takakunakatta desu.

Kono biru wa takaku arimasen deshita.
Our house wasn't ugly.
Watashitachi no uchi wa minikunakatta.

Watashitachi no uchi wa minikunakatta desu.

Watashitachi no uchi wa minikuku arimasen deshita.
That movie wasn't beautiful.
Sono eiga wa utsukushikunakatta.

Sono eiga wa utsukushikunkatta desu.

Sono eiga wa utsukushiku arimasen deshita.
They weren't destitute.
Karera wa binbou ja nakatta.

Karera wa binbou ja arimasen deshita.
The problems weren't simple.
Mondai wa kantan ja nakatta.

Mondai wa kantan ja arimasen deshita.
The water wasn't cold.
Mizu wa samukunakatta.

Mizu wa samukunakatta desu.

Mizu wa samuku arimasen deshita.
They (all females) weren't easygoing.
Kanojora wa yasashikunakatta.

Kanojora wa yasashikunakatta desu.

Kanojora wa yashiku arimasen deshita.
This wasn't very bad.
Kore wa amari warukunakatta.

Kore wa amari warukunakatta desu.

Kore wa amari waruku arimasen deshita.
This wasn't good.
Kore wa yokunakatta.

Kore wa yokunakatta desu.

Kore wa yoku arimasen deshita.
The pickles weren't delicious.
Tsukemono wa oishikunakatta.

Tsukemono wa oishikunakatta desu.

Tsukemono wa oishiku arimasen deshita.
This hotel wasn't convenient.
Kono hoteru wa benri ja nakatta.

Kono hoteru wa benri ja arimasen deshita.
That wasn't cool.
Sore wa kakkouii ja nakatta.

Sore wa kakkouii ja arimasen deshita.
This book wasn't helpful.
Kono hon wa yuuyou ja nakatta

Kono hon wa yuuyou ja arimasen deshita.
Mom wasn't quick-tempered.
Haha wa tanki ja nakatta.

Haha wa tanki ja arimasen deshita.
I wasn't very sick.
Watashi wa amari byouki ja nakatta.

Watashi wa amari byouki ja arimasen deshita.
You weren't well.
O-genki ja arimasen deshita.
They weren't destitute.
Karera wa binbou ja nakatta.

Karera wa binbou ja arimasen deshita.
Those problems weren't easy.
Sorera no mondai wa kantan ja nakatta.

Sorera no mondai wa kantan ja arimasen deshita.
This book wasn't interesting.
Kono hon wa omoshirokunakatta.

Kono hon wa omoshirokunakatta desu.

Kono hon wa omoshiroku arimasen deshita.
This problem wasn't difficult.
Kono mondai wa muzukashikunakatta.

Kono mondai wa muzukashikunakatta desu.

Kono mondai wa muzukashiku arimasen deshita.
The drink(s) wasn't/weren't hot.
Nomimono wa atsukunakatta.

Nomimono wa atsukunakatta desu.

Nomimono wa atsuku arimasen deshita.
Summarize the formulas for the use of past-tense adjectives in Japanese.
-i adjectives:

AFF: Subj + wa + adj-i + katta +/- desu.

NEG: Subj + wa + adj-i + kunakatta +/- desu or ku arimasen deshita.

-----

-na adjectives:

AFF: Subj + wa + adj + deshita.

NEG: Subj + wa + adj + ja nakatta / ja arimasen deshita / dewa arimasen deshita.
Now it's time to discuss the fifth way to use Japanese adjectives--as direct noun modifiers. Japanese adjectives come BEFORE the nouns they modify. 次のカード.
Go to the next card.
When modifying a noun directly, -i adjectives do not, in general, conjugate (there are exceptions, such as negative adjectives, but that's for another lesson). Hence, "takai kamera" = expensive camera. 次のカード.
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On the other hand, when they directly modify a noun, -na adjectives do something we haven't seen them do yet. They hang on to the -na. Thus: Benri-na hoteru = convenient hotel. 次のカード.
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Translate the following. 次のカード.
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safe thing
anzen na mono
quiet car
shizuka na kuruma
big house
ookina ie
clever man
rikou na hito
clean room
kirei na heya
intelligent man
kashikoi otoko
early bus
hayai baasu
late bus
osoi baasu
inconvenient place
fuben na tokoro
tall building
takai biru
ugly house
minikui ie
beautiful castle
utsukushii shiro
impovershed family
binbou na kazoku
simple problems
kantan na mondai
cold water
samui mizu
easygoing children
yasashii kodomotachi
bad kitty
warui nekochan
good job
ii shigoto
delicious raw fish
oishii sashimi
convenient store
benri na mise
cool foreigner
kakkouii na gaijin
helpful book
yuuyou na hon
quick-tempered mother
tanki na okaasan
sick doctor
byouki na ishasan
healthy flower
genki na hana
interesting book
omoshiroi hon
difficult problem
muzukashii mondai
hot drink
atsui nomimono
Now for a few quick odds and ends to wrap up your introduction to adjectives. 次のカード
Go to the next card.
You may have noticed that there was one adjective that did not behave like the others. Which one was it?
ii--good
That’s right, ii is an irregular adjective. Give all the conjugations you have learned for it.
present affirm: ii

present neg: yokunai/yoku arimasen

past affirm: yokatta

past neg: yokunakatta/yoku arimasen deshita
Now let's talk about colors. 次のカード
Go to the next card.
red
aka(i)
blue
ao(i)
yellow
kiiro(i)/(no)
green
midori no
purple
murasaki no
black
kuro(i)
brown
chairo (i)/no
orange
daidairo no
gray
nezumiiro no
jet black
makkuro na
brilliant white
masshiro na
bright scarlet
makka na
Note that all the colors come with one or more suffixes, which are used when the color precedes the noun, but not when it behaves as a predicate. In this sense, colors behave a bit like -na adjectives. 次のカード
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Bright scarlet shirt
Makka na shaatsu
My shirt is bright scarlet.
Watashi no shaatsu wa makka desu.
blue water
aoi mizu
The water is blue.
Mizu wa aoi desu.
purple pickles
murasaki tsukemono
The pickles were purple.
Tsukemono wa murasaki deshita.
That should do it for an introduction to adjectives. I strongly recommend that you go out and learn some adjectives and practice using them in various tenses, now that you know the basics.
End of program.
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