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-na Adjectives

About -na Adjectives in Japanese

A Prelude…
BEFORE THE LESSON YOU NEED TO KNOW…

  • Adjectives in Japanese are very different from English adjectives in that they change shape. That is, they have past & negative variations.
始めましょう! Let’s begin…

Adjectives are split into 2 groups, -i adjectives and -na adjectives. For -i adjectives click here

2) -na ADJECTIVES – the easy kind! They don’t change much!

An example of an -na adjective is げんき genki (healthy, vigorous, energetic…) or きれい kirei (pretty, beautiful) or しずか shizuka (quiet) [notice the endings are all different & may include an -i ending!]

Someone [Ken Suzuki] mentioned that NA adjectives are usually made of 2 kanji. For example [きれい is 綺麗 || すてき is 素敵] whereas -i adjectives are usually made of one kanji plus at least one hiragana and ends in a hiragana i . This is good only if you know the kanji! If you don’t, don’t worry, you will be able to tell the difference between -na and -i adjectives in time.

When a -na adjective is placed before a noun, a –na is added: genki (energetic) >>> genki na ko – a energetic (healthy) child
Very often -na adjectives actually act like nouns!

LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS…

SENTENCE #1: non-past lone adjective!

あなたは  きれい  です。
anata wa kirei desu.
You are beautiful.
Here the adjective kirei (beautiful) is used by itself (not modifying a noun or anything). It doesn’t change at all!
  • Easy enough! But let’s add a noun…

SENTENCE #2: non-past modifying adjective!

あなたは きれい  な  人 です。
anata wa kirei na hito desu.
You are a beautiful person.
Now the adjective kirei is modifying a noun hito (person). Therefore the –na is added.
  • for -na adjectives there the only change is in adding or taking away the na . Let’s go negative…

SENTENCE #3: non-past negative!

あなたは きれい では ありません。
anata wa kirei dewa arimasen.
You are NOT beautiful.
Notice the -na adjective doesn’t change. Whereas with -i adjectives , the adjective changes and not the verb [ anata wa kawakunai desu. You are not cute.]Note you can also use the more familiar form of ja nai instead of dewa arimasen . & the wa in dewa is actually a particle and is written with the hiragana ha but pronounced wa.

SENTENCE #4: past!

あなたは きれい でした。
anata wa kirei deshita.
You were beautiful.
Again nothing changes but the verb. –na adjectives act very much like nouns.
  • Easy! Just remember the -na is added before nouns >>> kirei na neko – beautiful cat

SENTENCE #5: past negative!

あなたは きれい では ありません でした。
anata wa kirei dewa arimasen deshita.
You were not beautiful.
Once again we simply treat the -na adjective as a noun and only the verb changes. The familiar form would be anata wa kirei ja nakatta.

*** I SUGGEST MEMORIZING A FEW GOOD ONE-WORD EXAMPLES. THE FOLLOWING ARE USED JUST AS THEY ARE VERY OFTEN IN JAPANESE:

– by itself

しずか
shizuka
quiet!

べんり
benri
(That’s) convenient!
– modifying a noun; add -na しずか な (ところ)
shizuka na (tokoro)
A quiet (place.)
べんり な (ところ)
benri na (tokoro )
a convenient (place!)

CLICK HERE TO STUDY THE -i ADJECTIVES

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