How To Use Na Adjectives In Japanese – Japanese Grammar Quick Tip

How To Use Na Adjectives In Japanese - Japanese Grammar Quick Tip photo 0 fast-japanese-lessons

In Japanese, there are two types of adjectives, (i, い) and (na, な). In this quick tip lesson, you are going to learn how to use na adjectives.

In case you’re wondering what an adjective is in general. Adjectives are words used to modify a noun. Such as to say, “this ball is (large, small, heavy, light)”.

HOW TO USE NA (な) ADJECTIVES

Na adjectives can either be placed before or after a noun. Compared to i (い) adjectives, when placed before a noun you will need to add na (な) to connect the two. (adjective + な + noun). This is perhaps the most important reason to learn the difference between i (い) and na (な) adjectives. See below for examples of each placement.

1. AFTER A NOUN, [noun] + [adjective] + [desu]

When placing a na (な) adjective after a noun such as to say, “this (noun) is (adjective)”. All you need to do is simply state the noun and follow it with an adjective.

  1. kono hon wa taisetsu desu – this book is important.
  2. kare wa yuumei desu – he is famous.
  3. kono machi wa benri desu – this town is convenient.

2. BEFORE A NOUN, [adjective] + [な] + [noun] + [desu]

When placing a na (な) adjective before a noun such as to say, “this is a (adjective + な + noun)”. Always connect the two by placing な between the adjective and the noun.

  1. kore wa taisetsu (na) hon desu – this is an important book.
  2. kare wa yuumei (na) hito desu – he is a famous person.
  3. kore wa benri (na) machi desu – this is a convenient town.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

See below to help clarify the difference in meaning between placing a na (な) adjective before or after a noun.

Before
Meaning
After
Meaning

…taisetsu(na) hon desu
this is an important book
…hon wa taisetsu desu
this book is important

…benri(na) machi desu
this is a convenient town
…machi wa benri desu
this town is convenient

…yuumei(na) hito desu
he is a famous person
…hito wa yuumei desu
this person is famous

3. ENDING THE PHRASE WITH DESU (です)

When ending statements using na (な) adjectives, the desu (です) sentence ender is also used just as when ending with a noun. You can learn more on the desu sentence ender in our dedicated quick tip article. For now, see the chart below for a quick reference.

How To Use Na Adjectives In Japanese - Japanese Grammar Quick Tip photo 1

POSITIVE, PRESENT
POSITIVE, PAST

…benri(na) machi desu
this is a convenient town
…benri(na) machi deshita
this was a convenient town

…machi wa benri desu
this town is convenient
…machi wa benri deshita
this town was convenient

NEGATIVE, PRESENT
NEGATIVE, PAST

…benri(na) machi janai desu
this is not a convenient town
…benri(na) machi ja nakatta desu
this was not a convenient town

…machi wa benri janai desu
this town is not convenient
…machi wa benri ja nakatta desu
this was not a convenient town

COMMON NA (な) ADJECTIVES LIST

English
Romaji
Kana
Kanji

To Like
suki
すき
好き

Healthy, Well
genki
げんき
元気

Famous
yuumei
ゆうめい
有名

How To Use Na Adjectives In Japanese - Japanese Grammar Quick Tip photo 2

Silent, Quiet
shizuka
しずか
静か

Beautiful, Clean
kirei
きれい
綺麗

Skillful, Good At
jouzu
じょうず
上手

Unskilled, Clumsy
heta
へた
下手

Important
taisetsu
たいせつ
大切

Busy, Bustling
nigiyaka
にぎやか
賑やか

Convenient
benri
べんり
便利

Simple, Easy
kantan
かんたん
簡単

Arigatou Gozaimasu!

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