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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Japanese adjectives and adverbs

形容詞 副詞

Ureshii, kanashii, natsukashii, samishii, okashii, tanoshii – these are all common adjectives in Japanese and mean happy (ureshii), sad (kanashii), nostalgic (natsukashii), lonely (samishii), funny/odd/peculiar (okashii), fun (tanoshii).

The way Japanese adjectives work is, like most of the language, very, very regular. As you can see, all the adjectives above end with “shii”. Not all adjectives end in “shii”, but they do all end with an “i”.

To express the way you feel in Japanese, all you need is the adjective. Words corresponding to “I” and “feel” are unnecessary. Simply saying the word “ureshii” means “I am happy,” or “kanashii”: “I am sad”.

How about doing something, for example, “happily” or “sadly,” i.e. forming the adverb? That’s easy, too.

Simply replace the final “i” with “ku”. Thus to sing happily is “ureshiku utau,” or to laugh happily is “ureshiku warau.” To sing sadly is “kanashiku utau,” or to laugh sadly is “kanashiku warau.” To sing nostalgically, “natsukashiku utau,” or to laugh nostalgically (if there is such a thing?!) is “natsukashiku warau”.

Learning the five adjectives listed here today will get you a fair way to expressing how you feel in Japanese. Tanoshiku benkyo shiyo! (Have fun studying!)

© JapanVisitor.com


  1. Do not agree - a large group of adjectives ends with na (kirei-na, handosamu-na, yuumei-na...)

  2. What a great post, thank you! And there is definitely such a thing as laughing nostalgically!


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