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Lesson 19: い-adjectives and な-adjectives

There are two types of adjectives in Japanese, い-adjectives and な-adjectives. These adjectives behave in a different way.

In this lesson you will learn two adjectives, おおきい(ookii), which means big, and きれい, which means pretty. おおきい is an い-adjective, and きれい is a な-adjective.

Using adjectives after a noun

When used after a noun, there is no difference between these two kinds of adjectives, as you can see below.

English Japanese
The car is big. くるまおおきいです。
kuruma ha ookii desu.
Am I pretty? わたしはきれいですか?
watasi ha kirei desu ka?

When used in front of a noun, な-adjectives end in . This is why な-adjectives are called な-adjectives.

Using adjectives in front of a noun

English Japanese
That is a big tree! それはおおきいです!
sore ha ookii ki desu!
Japan is a beautiful country. ほんはきれいなくにです。
nihon ha kireina kuni desu.

い-adjectives don't change when used in front of a noun. All い-adjectives end in , but not all adjectives ending in are い-adjectives. Otherwise きれい would also be an い-adjective, which it is not.

You don't have to worry about remembering whether each adjective you learn is an い-adjective or a な-adjective. We will make sure to use each adjective we teach in a sentence in such a way that you will know and remember.

The nationality suffix

As you can see in the table below, we can refer to a person from a specific country by placing the kanji じん after the country name.

English Japanese
Are (you) Japanese? ほんじんですか?
nihonzin desu ka?
(I) am not Japanese. ほんじんじゃないです。
nihonzin zya nai desu.
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