There are two types of adjectives in modern Japanese: な- and い-adjectives. Both are descriptive and modify nouns. They describe nouns and form predicates differently.

The な-adjectives (形容動詞, けいようどうし) conjugate with nouns by appending "〜な" before the following noun.

Watch and Listen edit

Listen to the teacher read the following phrases, or click   here to listen on your computer.

Adjective Noun Adjective and noun
元気(げんき)だ。 (ひと)だ。 元気(げんき)(ひと)だ。
奇麗(きれい)だ。 (おんな)だ。 奇麗(きれい)(おんな)だ。
ハンサムだ。 (おとこ)だ。 ハンサムな(おとこ)だ。
優秀(ゆうしゅう)だ。 学生(がくせい)だ。 優秀(ゆうしゅう)学生(がくせい)だ。
有名(ゆうめい)だ。 歌手(かしゅ)だ。 有名(ゆうめい)歌手(かしゅ)だ。
大切(たいせつ)だ。 授業(じゅぎょう)だ。 大切(たいせつ)授業(じゅぎょう)だ。
簡単(かんたん)だ。 宿題(しゅくだい)だ。 簡単(かんたん)宿題(しゅくだい)だ。

Vocabulary edit

Japanese English Reading Notes
person, peopleひと
授業class (session, not group of people), lectureじゅぎょう
Japanese English Reading Notes
奇麗beautiful; clean, tidyきれい
簡単simple, easyかんたん

Grammar edit

な-Adjective Predicates edit

When used as predicates, な-adjectives behave just like nouns:

<な-adjective> です


奇麗(きれい)です。 (She) is pretty. (formal)
有名(ゆうめい)です。 (It) is famous. (formal)
簡単(かんたん)です。 (This) is simple. (formal)
元気(げんき)だ。 (I'm) well. (informal)
ハンサムだ。 (He) is handsome. (informal)
優秀(ゆうしゅう)だ。 (They) are bright. (informal)
大切(たいせつ)だ。 (That) is important. (informal)

Note that the pronouns are usually dropped when they can be inferred from context. The pronouns in the English version are examples only to make better formed English sentences. For example, "元気(げんき)だ" can mean any of: "I'm well," "He's well," "They're well," etc.

な-Adjectives noun modifiers edit

When preceding a modified noun, な-adjectives take a "な" before the noun:

<な-adjective> な <noun> です


English Adjective noun sentence
a healthy person 元気(げんき) (ひと) 元気(げんき)(ひと)です。
a famous doctor 有名(ゆうめい) 医者(いしゃ) 有名(ゆうめい)医者(いしゃ)です。
an important class 大切(たいせつ) 授業(じゅぎょう) 大切(たいせつ)授業(じゅぎょう)です。

Practice edit

Try writing and speaking out the following sentences in Japanese:

Formal Japanese

  1. I am well.
  2. He is bright.
  3. She is famous.
  4. That is simple.
  5. She is a pretty woman.
  6. He is a healthy man.
  7. This is an important class.
  8. They are bright students.

Informal Japanese

  1. He is famous.
  2. She is well.
  3. They are bright.
  4. This is important.
  5. He is a handsome man.
  6. She is an important person.
  7. This is a tidy classroom.
  8. They are healthy students.

Other ideas for practice include:

  • Write な-adjectives on pieces of paper along with nouns and keep these in separate stacks. Pick one of each and say the sentence.
  • Now write the English on the other side and repeat, this time translating as well.
  • Make pictures to represent the sentences and drill with those.
  • Write a short story or describe something that happened to you.

If you need help gathering adjectives, you can search for lists on smart.fm. To check your story, you can post it on Lang-8.