We’ve already used some adjectives as the state-of-being but we have yet to describe a noun directly with adjectives. In order to do this, we first have to learn the two different types of adjectives in Japanese.

There are two types of adjectives called i-adjectives and na-adjectives.

Examples of i-adjectives

All i-adjectives end in 「い」.

  1. いい – good
  2. かっこいい – cool; handsome
  3. 忙しい 【いそが・しい】 – busy
  4. 楽しい 【たの・しい】- fun
  5. 暑い 【あつ・い】 – hot
  6. 寒い 【さむ・い】 – cold

Examples of na-adjectives

All adjectives that do not end in 「い」 are na-adjectives.

  1. 好き 【す・き】 – likable
  2. 元気 【げん・き】 – healthy; lively
  3. 静か 【しず・か】 – quiet

Examples of na-adjectives that end in 「い」

Though most adjectives that end in 「い」 are i-adjectives, there are a small number of na-adjectives that end in 「い」. The examples below are some of the most common na-adjectives that end in 「い」.

  1. きれい – clean; pretty
  2. 嫌い 【きら・い】 – distasteful
  3. 幸い 【さいわ・い】 – luckily, fortunately

Describing nouns directly

You can easily describe a noun by placing the adjective directly in front of the noun. For na-adjectives, you first need to add 「な」 before you can attach the adjective to the noun (hence the name).


  1. 人 【ひと】 – person
  2. 時 【とき】 – when
  3. ゲーム – game
  4. 物 【もの】 – object; thing

Toggle Translations

  1. いい人
    good person
  2. 元気
    lively; healthy person
  3. きれい
    pretty person
  4. 忙しい時
    when busy
  5. 楽しいゲーム
    fun game
  6. 好き
    likable thing

You’re so-so handsome

  1. 山本 【やまもと】 – Yamamoto (surname)
  2. 新しい 【あたら・しい】 (i-adj) – new
  3. とても (adv) – very
  4. まあまあ (adv) – so-so
  5. ありがとうございます – thank you (polite)

Toggle Translations

スミス: 田中先生は、新しい先生ですか?
山本: そうですよ。
スミス: とてもきれいな人ですね。
山本: そうですか?
スミス: あっ、山本先生も、まあまあかっこいいですよ!
山本: ・・・ありがとうございます。

Smith: Is Tanaka-sensei a new teacher?
Yamamoto: That’s right.
Smith: (She’s) a very pretty person, isn’t she?
Yamamoto: Is that so?
Smith: Ah, Yamamoto-sensei is so-so handsome too!
Yamamoto: …Thank you.

Book Navigation<< Sentence-Ending ParticlesMale/Female Speech >>