いadjectives and なadjectives

いadjectives and なadjectives

Today’s Question

=これはゆうめい( )ほんです。
a. で b. な c. の d. leave it blank

Today, I’m going to talk about 2 things. One is about ゆうめい and the other about この/これ.

いadjectives and なadjectives

Adjectives are describing words. They are used to describe a noun. In the following pair, the bold words つめたい/cold are the adjectives and the underlined words みず/water are the nouns that つめたい/cold is describing.

この みずは つめたい です。 This water is cold.
これは つめたい みず です。This is cold water.

In the above pair, the top sentence has the adjective somewhere after the noun (“predicative use”) and the second sentence has the adjective immediately before the noun (“attributive use”).

In Japanese, there are 2 different types of adjectives, いadjectives and なadjectives. いadjectives all end in the Hiragana い (thus they are called いadjectives) and なadjectives are usually* made of all Kanji (even though they are written in Hiragana here) or all Katakana, and they behave VERY differently. The definitive difference appears in front of a noun (in the “attributive use”); that is, only なadjectives need な if they are used in front of a noun, thus they are called なadjectives!

Answer to Today’s Question: b. な

Although ゆうめい ends in -い when written in Hiragana, normally it is written 有名 in Kanji and means “famous” or “well-known” and it is a なadjective. That means, you need な between ゆうめい and the noun after, which is ほん here.

この ほんは ゆうめい です。= This book is famous.
これは ゆうめい ほん です。= This is a famous book.

For a list of なadjective which ends in -い, click here.

* The only なadjective that ends in the Hiragana -い and that you need to know as a beginner is きらい (dislike, unfond).

More examples


この ほんは ゆうめい です。This book is famous.
これは ゆうめい ほん です。This is a famous book.

その もんだいは かんたん です。This question is easy.
それは かんたん もんだい です。This is an easy question.

あの かばんは じょうぶ です。That bag is strong.
あれは じょうぶ かばん です。That is a strong bag.

あの こうえんは しずか です。That park is quiet.
あれは しずか こうえん です。That is a quiet park.


この みずは つめたい です。 This water is cold.
これは つめたい みず です。This is cold water.

この ケーキは おいしい です。 This cake is delicious.
これは おいしい ケーキ です。This is a delicious cake.

この セーターは あたたかい です。This jumper is warm.
これは あたたかい セーター です。This is a warm jumper.

その ものがたりは みじかい です。That story is short.
それは みじかい ものがたり です。That is a short story.

あの まんがは つまらない です。That cartoon is boring.
あれは つまらない まんが です。That is a boring cartoon.

Today’s point: a なadjective needs な if it’s used in front of a noun.

I will talk about other differences between いadjectives and なadjectives at another time.

Suggested activities

If a sentence below starts with この、その、あの, change it to a sentence starting with これ、それ、あれ or vise-versa. Check your answer with above examples.

  1. あの かばんは じょうぶ です。
  2. あの こうえんは しずか です。
  3. あれは つまらない まんが です。
  4. この セーターは あたたかい です。
  5. この ほんは ゆうめい です。
  6. この みずは つめたい です。
  7. これは おいしい ケーキ です。
  8. その もんだいは かんたん です。
  9. それは みじかい ものがたり です。

Related Posts

You can try doing Exercises 4 to 8 of Module 2 of the Moodle Course.

2 thoughts on “いadjectives and なadjectives

  1. Reply
    Adjectives for Describing People | EasyJapaneseE
    15 June 2021 at 2:50 pm

    […] いadjectives and なadjectives […]

  2. Reply
    Adjectives for Describing People | EasyJapaneseE
    25 February 2021 at 8:00 am

    […] いadjectives and なadjectives […]

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