Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 1: 11/12

Adjectives that are also nouns

Some な-Adjectives can end in い

[な]Adjective +
[な]Adjective + + Noun
[な]Adjective + です
[な]Adjective + + Noun
Part of Speech Noun
Word Type Adjectival Noun
Register Standard
品詞 名詞
単語の種類 形容動詞
使用域 一般
In Japanese, the vast majority of な-Adjectives are originally nouns, and differ from nouns only in that they have their own set of conjugation rules. The dictionary form of a な-Adjective will always be followed by . な is only attached when describing another noun.
  • 魚(さかな)大好(だいす)き
    I love fish. (Fish are loved by me)
  • 大好(だいす)き野菜(やさい)です
    A vegetable that I love.
As we can see from these examples, or です is required at the end of a sentence, but な will be required when using a な-Adjective to describe a noun.
な-Adjectives are mostly words of foreign (Chinese/English) origin. This is why they have evolved to require unique conjugation rules.
Fun Fact
As a learner, it can be very difficult to identify what a な-Adjective is, compared to a regular noun. Nouns conjugate with , while な-Adjectives conjugate with な. A very simple trick that Japanese children learn is using the adverb とても. If とても sounds natural with a word, then it is probably a な-Adjective, if it sounds unnatural, then the word is likely to be a regular noun.
  • とても綺麗(きれい)。
    Very pretty. (Natural in Japanese)
  • とても外(そと)。
    Very outside. (Unnatural in Japanese)
From this example, we can see that とても can be used to help identify な-Adjectives. Basically, this is due to adjectives being measurable ‘very big’, ‘very small’, while nouns are not measurable ‘very dog’, ‘very boat’.
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綺麗(きれい) 絵(え)
A pretty painting.
綺麗(きれい) 女(おんな)の人(ひと)
A pretty woman.
暇(ひま) 一日(いちにち)。
A free day.
[Can also mean "A day with nothing to do."]
Genki I 2nd Edition
Page 133
みんなの日本語 I
Page 56 [CH 8]
[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
Page 7
Genki I
Page 101
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 38