Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 3: 6/18

Converting adjectives to nouns

[な]Adjective +
Register Standard
使用域 一般
is a suffix in Japanese that can be attached to the stem form of い-Adjectives and な-Adjectives. When this happens, it transforms the target adjective into a noun that illustrates the ‘amount’ of that particular adjective. This commonly translates as ‘-ness’ in English (sweetness, tallness, spiciness, etc), but is called 程度(ていど) ‘amount’ in Japanese.
  • 私(わたし)道(みち)長(なが)測(はか)ります
    I will measure the length of the road. (The road’s lengthiness)
  • 大人(おとな)になってから家族(かぞく)大切(たいせつ)分(わ)かってきた
    After becoming an adult, I came to understand the importance of family. (Family’s importantness)
Fun Fact
It is thought that this suffix originally stemmed from the kanji 差(さ) (meaning ‘distinction’), and was used for highlighting things that were distinctive features of something. In this way, is also sometimes used after the dictionary form of verbs, to highlight a distinct point in time that something happens.
  • 学校(がっこう)からの帰(かえ)にお金(かね)拾(ひろ)っ
    On the way back from school, I picked up some money. (At the ‘point’ of returning home)
  • 行(い)家(いえ)忘(わす)れ物(もの)こと思(おも)い出(だ)し
    When I was on my way there, I remembered that I had left something at home. (At the ‘point’ of going somewhere)
However, this use of the suffix is far less common in modern Japanese, and is known as 雅語(がご) ‘poetic language’. It was primarily used during Japan’s ‘middle ages’, which spanned from (around) 1100, until close to the end of the 1500’s.
Slow Male
Hide All
Hide Japanese
Hide English
This beauty is a first for me.
His energy is like that of a child.
This sweetness is delicious.
Page 17
みんなの日本語 II
Page 96 [CH 40]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 381
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 257