i-adectives: past – katta-form

Japanese i-adjectives also can express situations in the past. Whereas in English you have to use “was” in front of the word, i-adjectives can build the past on its own. Remove the い (i) at the end of the plain form and add かった (katta) to the stem of the i-adjective as described in the following examples:

  • => 高- => 高 + かった => 高かった
  • takai => taka- => taka + katta => takakatta
Plain Form Romaji Meaning Negation Romaji Meaning
takai high かった takakatta it was high
yasui cheap かった yasukatta it was cheap
美味し oishii tasty 美味しかった oishikatta it was tasty
hiroi spacious かった hirokatta it was spacious
寂し sabishii lonely 寂しかった sabishikatta it was lonely

Example

Kanji この話はあまり面白くなかったです。
Furigana このはなしはあまりおもしろくなかったです。
Romaji kono hanashi wa amari omoshirokunanakatta desu.
English This story was not very interesting.

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i-adectives: negation – kunai-form

Japanese i-adjectives also allow to express a negative meaning. It is close to adding un- to an English adjective (easy = un-easy, not easy). In order to build this form you first remove the い – I at the end of the plain form and  add くない – KUNAI to the stem of the i-adjective as described in the following examples:

  • => 高- => 高 + くない => 高くない
  • takai => taka- => taka + kunai => takakunai
Plain Form Romaji Meaning Negation Romaji Meaning
takai high くない takakunai not high
yasui cheap くない yasukunai not cheap
美味し oishii tasty 美味しくない oishikunai not tasty
hiroi spacious くない hirokunai not spacious
寂し sabishii lonely 寂しくない sabishikunai not lonely

Example

Kanji 隣りのスーパーはあまり高くないです。
Furigana となりのスーパーはあまりたかくないです。
Romaji tonari no suupaa wa amari takakunai desu.
English The supermarket in the neighborhood is not very expensive.

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i-adjectives: the sou-form

The sou-form of an i-adjective expresses that something seems to be in a certain way. It translates into sentences such as it looks red (akasou).

It is very easy to build. Just replace the last “i” of the adjective with a “sou”. So 楽しい (tanoshii, enjoyable) becomes  楽しそう (tanoshisou). Here are a few more examples to make it clear.

Plain Form Romaji Meaning sa Form Romaji
楽し tanoshii enjoyable 楽しそう tanoshisou
美し utsukushii beautiful 美しそう utsukushisou
新し atarashii new 新しそう atarashisou
akai red そう akasou
大き ookii big 大きそう ookisou

Example sentences:

この料理はとても美味しそうです。

このりょうりはとてもおいしそうです。

kono ryouri wa totemo oishisou desu.

This dish looks very delicious.

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i-adjectives: the sa-form

The Japanese language is very flexible with adjectives. The sa-form allows to use an i-adjective as a noun or in other words to add ~ness to it (e.g. useful => usefulness, powerful => powerfulness, etc.)

It is very easy to build. Just replace “i” at the end of the word with a “sa”. So 楽しい (tanoshii, enjoyable) becomes joy as 楽しさ (tanoshisa). Here are a few more examples to make it clear.

Plain Form Romaji Meaning sa Form Romaji Meaning
楽し tanoshii enjoyable 楽し tanoshisa joy
美し utsukushii beautiful 美し utsukushisa beauty
新し atarashii new 新し atarashisa newness
akai red akasa redness
大き ookii big 大き ookisa size, dimensions

Example sentences:

日本のお寺の美しさが好きです。

nihon no otera no utsukushisa ga suki desu.

I like the beauty of Japanese temples.

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