This is a Great Lesson
This may be the funnest, cutest, and bestest lesson ever. That or I’m struggling to write a intro and decided to fill it with a bunch of adjectives. While adjectives may seem difficult at first, adjectives will be pretty easy to understand since we have already gone over the conjugation rules with verbs. In fact, adjectives should be pretty straightforward because there are only two types of adjectives – i-adjectives and na-adjectives. Today we will be covering the former today.
“I“-adjectives (pronounced “ee”) are called as such because just about all i-adjectives end with a vowel sound + i. A good test for identifying i-adjectives is to think about how it would be written in romaji, and if the adjective ends with a vowel sound + i it is most likely an i-adjectives (with the exception of ei). Many dictionaries indicate whether an adjective is an i or na adjectives, so when in doubt you can always look it up!
AI: からい (Spicy)
II: かわいい (Cute)
UI: ふるい (Old)
EI: n/a – Words like kirei (Pretty) etc. are not I-adjectives.
OI: おおい (Many)
We’ve discussed how Japanese is a S-O-V (Subject-Object-Verb) language, but where do adjectives fit into Japanese sentence order? Well, sometimes it can come be placed before nouns, it can be placed at the end of the sentence, and sometimes it can stand on its own as the entire sentence. When placed in a sentence before a noun, such as からい ラーメン を たべた (karai ramen wo tabeta), the adjective からい is simply placed before the noun ラーメン. When placed at the end of a sentence such as あじ が つよい (aji ga tsuyoi), the adjective つよい (tsuyoi) is in the proper form to end the sentence by itself. In English, you would feel the need to say “the flavor is strong”, requiring the “is“, whereas there is no need for a です or anything in Japanese. Adjectives conjugate similar to verbs, but with i-adjectives you just drop the い at the end and conjugate appropriately as if く replaced the い at the end. See the chart below for a few examples of how this is conjugated with tense. Lastly, an i-adjective can stand by itself and form an entire sentence! かわいい！つよい！かなしい。Each of these three adjectives are a full and complete sentence! This would not fly at all in English.
Below are two common sentence construction for adjectives.
Adj [tense] Noun…
Noun が Adj [tense].
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A common misunderstanding that comes along with adjective are the conjugation of colors. Just like verbs, there are stems to the adjective, which is everything before the final い. Which is why the colors when acting as a noun are said without the い. Once the い is attached to the end, they become adjectives. See some examples below.