Beginner Lesson #3: Adjectives and the 「の」 particle

Beginner Japanese Lesson #3: Adjectives and the 「の」 particle (length: 28:56) and original lesson details.

Here is the recording for the third beginner Skype lesson. You can subscribe to this podcast with iTunes from the following link:

Subscribe to this podcast with iTunes

This time, you can tell it’s spring because of the background noises from the birds. Sorry about that and the big delay but I’ve been too lazy for various reasons. Details of the next beginner lesson and lesson date will be posted afterwards in another post. (For those of you who asked, yes, I’m still planning on doing more lessons.)

Lesson Notes

To add to the previous lesson, the topic particle is not the subject like in English. There is no such thing as a subject in Japanese.

It is only the topic and doesn’t have to be directly related to the rest of the sentence.
For example, 「レイさんは、学校です。」 doesn’t have to mean that the Ray-san is a school.


So far, we have learned how to use 「元気」 to describe how you are doing. I managed to cleverly hide the fact that 「元気」 is an adjective. Actually, 「元気」 can also be a noun but so far we have been using as an adjective as a description of your well-being.

There are two types of adjectives: na-adjective and i-adjectives.

Na-adjectives are almost the same as nouns as we have seen with 「元気」. The difference is that you can directly modify a noun by attaching it directly in front of the noun with a 「な」. (Hence the name)

1.有名な人 – famous person
2.便利なところ – convenient place

The other type of adjective are called i-adjectives. They are called that because they end in the hiragana 「い」. Unlike the na-adjectives, they do not need anything to directly modify nouns. Just attach them to the front of the noun.

1.広い部屋 – wide room
2.面白い人 – interesting person

You may have noticed, some na-adjectives end in 「い」 such as 「きれい」. You should pay careful attention to them. 「嫌い」 is another example of a na-adjective that ends in 「い」.

Negative Adjectives
As we have seen, the negative for na-adjectives is the same as nouns. Just add 「じゃない」.

The conjugation rules for i-adjectives are slightly different from na-adjectives and nouns.
For the negative tense, you first need to remove the last 「い」 and attach 「くない」.

For the polite form, add 「です」 at the end for both i-adjectives and na-adjectives.

※Important Exception: いい、かっこいい

The original version of いい was よい. As a result, all conjugations are based on よい and not いい.

The 「の」 particle

One of the main functions of the 「の」 particle (besides many others) is used to show ownership, same as the English word, “of”. However, the order is the possessor followed by 「の」 followed by the possession.

Xさんの部屋 = room of Xさん

9 thoughts on “Beginner Lesson #3: Adjectives and the 「の」 particle

  1. Thanks again for the lesson and the notes Tae. Well thought out and lot of fun.

    About の in the role of genative marker though. Why did you choose to relate it to “of” rather than “‘s”? Most people seem to choose the “‘s” way to relate it.

    Cheers, and looking forward to the next one.

  2. Mainly because for example, 会社の人 means that the person is of a company and not that the company owns the person. By all means, if “‘s” is easier to understand then that’s fine as long as you realize that 「の」 doesn’t always indicate ownership.

  3. No offense, but where’s some of the more practical/useful stuff? For a while there, you had me checking this blog everyday –and learning something new every time you posted something.

    These days…not so much.


  4. After having listened to your podcast there, I just wanted to make a quick little comment about your definition of しかも. Granted you were on the spot there and all, but I believe if you where to have a look below, you would see that しかも is more along the lines of “(and) on top of that…”, rather than “but”.



    Keep up the good work.

  5. hmmm….

    why are you using hiragana and kanji throughout beginner lessons?

    ex: in your 1st beginner lesson, you say…
    In Japanese, we don’t say “hello”.
    Instead, there are three greetings for morning, afternoon, night. Let’s first look at the greeting for afternoon and night.


    wtf?!?! if someone doesnt already know the difference between “konichi wa”, and “konban wa”… then how could they possibly read hiragana?

    not very well thought-out. You really should have started using romanji… as english speakers could at least read.

  6. What is the difference between a な “adjective” used as a noun and a “regular” noun, which uses the particle の?

  7. Hi!
    I really like your Podcast lessons. I was wondering why haven’t you started new ones? anyways I just wanted to thank you, your guide and blogs really helps me a lot in my studies.(I self-study for about 9 months now) Keep up the good work Tae Kim!

  8. Hi Xied,

    I got very positive responses to the podcast lessons. Unfortunately, they did not scale well, taking 5+ hours for pre and after work. So they’re on hold until I can figure out how to make them easier to do.

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