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-na Adjectives

About -na Adjectives in Japanese
A Prelude...
BEFORE THE LESSON YOU NEED TO KNOW...
  • Adjectives in Japanese are very different from English adjectives in that they change shape. That is, they have past & negative variations.
始めましょう! Let's begin...

Adjectives are split into 2 groups, -i adjectives and -na adjectives. For -i adjectives click here

2) -na ADJECTIVES - the easy kind! They don't change much!

An example of an -na adjective is げんき genki (healthy, vigorous, energetic...) or きれい kirei (pretty, beautiful) or しずか shizuka (quiet) [notice the endings are all different & may include an -i ending!]

Someone [Ken Suzuki] mentioned that NA adjectives are usually made of 2 kanji. For example [きれい is 綺麗 || すてき is 素敵] whereas -i adjectives are usually made of one kanji plus at least one hiragana and ends in a hiragana i . This is good only if you know the kanji! If you don't, don't worry, you will be able to tell the difference between -na and -i adjectives in time.

When a -na adjective is placed before a noun, a -na is added: genki (energetic) >>> genki na ko - a energetic (healthy) child
Very often -na adjectives actually act like nouns!

LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS...

SENTENCE #1: non-past lone adjective!

あなたは  きれい  です。
anata wa kirei desu.
You are beautiful.
Here the adjective kirei (beautiful) is used by itself (not modifying a noun or anything). It doesn't change at all!
  • Easy enough! But let's add a noun...

SENTENCE #2: non-past modifying adjective!

あなたは きれい  な  人 です。
anata wa kirei na hito desu.
You are a beautiful person.
Now the adjective kirei is modifying a noun hito (person). Therefore the -na is added.
  • for -na adjectives there the only change is in adding or taking away the na . Let's go negative...

SENTENCE #3: non-past negative!

あなたは きれい では ありません。
anata wa kirei dewa arimasen.
You are NOT beautiful.
Notice the -na adjective doesn't change. Whereas with -i adjectives , the adjective changes and not the verb [ anata wa kawakunai desu. You are not cute.]
Note you can also use the more familiar form of ja nai instead of dewa arimasen . & the wa in dewa is actually a particle and is written with the hiragana ha but pronounced wa.

SENTENCE #4: past!

あなたは きれい でした。
anata wa kirei deshita.
You were beautiful.
Again nothing changes but the verb. -na adjectives act very much like nouns.
  • Easy! Just remember the -na is added before nouns >>> kirei na neko - beautiful cat

SENTENCE #5: past negative!

あなたは きれい では ありません でした。
anata wa kirei dewa arimasen deshita.
You were not beautiful.
Once again we simply treat the -na adjective as a noun and only the verb changes. The familiar form would be anata wa kirei ja nakatta.

*** I SUGGEST MEMORIZING A FEW GOOD ONE-WORD EXAMPLES. THE FOLLOWING ARE USED JUST AS THEY ARE VERY OFTEN IN JAPANESE:

- by itself

しずか
shizuka
quiet!

べんり
benri
(That's) convenient!
- modifying a noun; add -na しずか な (ところ)
shizuka na (tokoro)
A quiet (place.)
べんり な (ところ)
benri na (tokoro )
a convenient (place!)

CLICK HERE TO STUDY THE -i ADJECTIVES

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dewa?

what does dewa mean?
and what does deshita mean?(is it the past form of DESU?

Live to eat , don't eat to live :€

dewa では means "so".Which use

dewa では means "so".Which use for concluding the conversation.So,そうではありません means not like that.

deshita でした is past form as you understand.

Flash Trauma's picture

Deshita

Not sure about "dewa", but "deshita" is the past tense of "desu".

Freedom is the depression caused by the awareness of reality.

dewa vs. ja

in my japanese class I was taught to use じゃありません and じゃありませんでした for negative and past negative な form adjectives. i didnt learn ではありません or ではありませんでした. which one is more commonly used?

clay's picture

Sure. To add 'person' you

Sure. To add 'person' you can say きれいな人 kireina hito (or for a beautiful woman you can just say 美人 bijin)

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So in the past that would be

So in the past that would be :

anata wa kireina hito dewa arimasen deshita. ?

thanks a lot,

past with noun?

what if it was,
' you were not a beautiful person ' (past negative modifying adjective). Or can't I do this?
Or 'You were a beautiful person'

thanks

maufii's picture

'You were a beautiful person'

'You were a beautiful person' would be ----> Anatawa kireina hito deshita

' You were not a beautiful person.' would be----> Anatawa kereina hito dewarimasen deshita

Just remember the noun goes after the na adjective. Also, when a noun is added after the na adjective you add the na to the adjective. : D

You see?

anata wa kirei desu.

anata wa kirei na hito desu.

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