Posted on

て-Form VERB + ほしい as “I want you to do VERB (for me)”

て-Form VERB + ほしい as “I want you to do VERB (for me)”

Construction:
て-Form VERB + ほしい = “I want you to do VERB (for me)”
Negative-ない-Form VERB + ほしい = “I want you to not do VERB (for me)”

Using the て-Form of a VERB word (or Negative-ない-Form) and the word ほしい which expresses desire, we can express that we want someone or something do (or don’t do) an action for us.

Example(s):

教えてほしい
Oshiete hoshii
Please tell me

検討してほしい
Kentou shite hoshii
“I’d like for you to consider it”

協力してほしい
Kyouryoku shite hoshii
“I’d like for you to cooperate”

This function is similar to the grammar pattern て/ないで-Form VERB + ください as “please (do/don’t) VERB,” but is used in casual speech. Though casual, it should not be considered rude and is actually still quite a passive way to request someone do (or don’t do) something as it literally expresses that you would like someone or something do something for you while refraining from explicitly telling them to do it.

Given this nuance of the Japanese language in which politeness is still strongly present  in casual speech, English translations of this grammar pattern can vary among things along the lines of “please VERB,” “I’d like for you to VERB,” “do verb,” “I’d prefer it if you did VERB,” “I hope you VERB,” etc. (This can be observed in the following examples below.)

Example Sentence(s):

僕と一緒に歌ってほしい。
Boku to issho ni utatte hoshii.
“I want you to sing together with me.”

その日が早く来てほしい。
Sono hi ga hayaku kite hoshii.
“I hope that day comes soon.”

めんどうかけないでほしい
Mendou kakenaide hoshii
“Don’t cause me any more trouble”

みなさんも,将来の夢を見つけてほしいと思います。
Mina-san mo, shourai no yume o mitsukete hoshii to omoimasu
“I hope you all find a dream to pursue too”

明日、早く起きる必要があるから、静にしてほしい。
Ashita, hayaku okiru hitsuyou ga aru kara, shizuka ni shite hoshii.
“I need to wake up early tomorrow, so please keep it down.”

たばこを吸わないでほしいのですが
Tabako o suwanaide hoshii on desu ga
“I would prefer it if you didn’t smoke”

私にあまり期待しないでほしい
Watashi ni amari kitai shinade hoshii
“Don’t expect too much from me”

 

Similar Grammar Pattern(s):

Posted on

Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい as “Do VERB”

Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい as “Do VERB”

An alternative to taking the て-Form of a VERB word and adding ください (a special conjugation of the verb word くださる, which in turn is the honorific form of the verb word くれる, which means “to give, to let have, to do for one”) after it to express “please do VERB” is instead conjugation the VERB word itself into the special “なさい form.” (なさい is the imperative form of the verb word なさる, which in turn is the honorific form of he verb word する, “to do.”) We do this by taking the Pre-ます-Form of the VERB word and plugging なさい right after it.

Example(s):

する (suru) “to do”
Pre-ます-Form:し
しなさい (shinasai) “do” [command]

よむ (yomu) “to read”
Pre-ます-Form: よみ
よみなさい (yominasai) “read” [command]

いく (iku) “to go”
Pre-ます-Form: いき
いきなさい (ikinasai) “go” [command]

However, while this form may be simpler due to having to only conjugate the single VERB word used, it comes with certain restrictions. Unlike the て/ないで-Form VERB + ください grammar pattern, it cannot be used in a negative form to tell someone to not do something.

Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい is also considered more forceful than て/ないで-Form VERB + ください, while still being polite. It is often used when the speaker and addressee have a relationship of superior/older and inferior/younger respectively (e.g. an adult talking to children, a teacher talking to students, a boss talking to interns, etc.). While English translations of the て/ないで-Form VERB + ください grammar pattern are likely to include the word “please,” English translations of this grammar pattern typically will not include “please” depending on context (generally because given these types of relationships, something like an adult not saying “please” when talking to a child doesn’t mean they’re not being polite to them).

Example(s):

やめなさい
Yamensai
“Stop it”

ちょっと待ちなさい
Chotto machinasai
“Please wait a bit”

すべての野菜を食べなさい
Subete no yasai o tabenasai
“Eat all of your vegetables”

もう起きなさい!
Mou okinasai!
“Wake up already!”

ご挨拶をちゃんとしなさい
Goaisatsu o chanto shinasai
“Properly greet your seniors”

 

Further, this grammar pattern can be turned into a shortened version by outright dropping the さい in なさい. This results in what is arguably a completely new grammar pattern in and of itself, Pre-ます-Form VERB + な as “Do VERB,” and in turn makes the new command statement even more forceful, yet still retaining a degree of politeness.

Example(s):

見な
mina
“look”

たべな
tabena
“eat”

なっちゃいなよ
nacchaina yo
“go ahead and become”

Similar Grammar Pattern(s):

Posted on

Dictionary-Form VERB + な as “Don’t VERB” (Verb Conjugation/Sentence Ending Particle)

Dictionary-Form VERB + な as “Don’t VERB” (Verb Conjugation/Sentence Ending Particle)

When the character な is attached at the end of the Dictionary-Form of a VERB word, it forms the negative command grammar pattern that expresses “Don’t VERB.”

Context:
While this grammar pattern has been used since pre-modern Japanese times, its classification can be a bit vague. It is said to be a type of verb conjugation (though it is technically just plugging the character な after the Dictionary-Form of a VERB word, which is considered the most standard VERB form) as well as a type of sentence-ending particle (in which the character な acts as what is called the “prohibition particle”). Regardless, distinguishing between what type of grammar pattern Dictionary-Form VERB + な as “Don’t VERB” is is not compulsory for understanding its usage.

Corresponding to how simple it is to form, this negative command form is considered to be the most direct and terse and as a result can come off as extremely impolite and rude. Many times, speech patterns as such associated with forwardness and frankness are considered masculine speech, but Dictionary-Form VERB + な is commonly used by both male and female speakers.

While not completely nonexistent in spoken language (it may become very common in friendlier, more informal conversations), it can much more commonly be observed works of fiction.

Example(s):

たべるな
taberu na
“don’t eat”

のむな
nomu na
“don’t drink”

みるな
miru na
“don’t look”

こっち来るな!
Kocchi kuru na!
“Don’t come here!/Stay away!”

*On the topic of works of fiction such as anime, an even more slurred version of this grammar pattern can be sometimes be observed (e.g. the first example こっち来るな becomes こっちくんな, するな becomes すんな, etc.)

 

An important thing to note is how easily this grammar pattern may be confused with other grammatical forms.

[1] The use of the sentence-ending particle な to express emphasis after a Dictionary-Form VERB word.

Example(s):
そんなこと言うな
Sonna koto iu na
*This can be interpretted as both “You sure do say things like that” and “Don’t say things like that.” Various minor additions to the sentence (e.g. the sentence-ending particle よ, the small っ, an exclamation mark, a trailing ぁ after the な, an ellipsis, etc.) can make it clearer as to which one is meant to be said.

[2] The affirmative command grammar pattern Pre-ます-Form VERB + な as “Do VERB,” which is effectively the complete opposite of Dictionary-Form VERB + な’s meaning. This grammar pattern is an abbreviated version of the Pre-ます-Form VERB + なさい as “Please do VERB” grammar pattern. Through its abbreviation it becomes more of a forceful statement.

Example(s):
聞きなさい (kikinasai) “please listen”
聞きな (kikina) “listen”
聞くな (kikuna) “don’t listen”

Similar Grammar Pattern(s):

Posted on

The Particle だけ as “just, only”

The Particle だけ as “just, only”

だけ is a common Japanese particle that translates into English as “just” or “only” and works in an almost completely similar manner to its English counterpart words.

だけ can be used with any of the three main word types (adjectives, nouns, and verbs) simply by attaching it right after said word to express “just WORD” or “only WORD.”

Example(s):

わたしだけ (watashi dake) “just me”
あなただけ (anata dake) “just you”
面白いだけ (omoshiroi dake) “just interesting”
勉強するだけ (benkyou suru dake) “just studying”

Unlike the similar particle しか which can only be used in negative form sentences, だけ can be used in both positive and negative form sentences.

Example Sentence(s):

今日だけバナナパクチー味のアイスが買えるよ!スーパー限定だから!
Kyou dake banana pakuchi- aji no aisu ga kaeru yo! Su-pa- gentei dakara!
“The banana coriander flavor ice cream is available only today! It’s super limited edition!”

やばい!半分のレッスンだけ勉強した。
Yabai! Hanbun no resson dake benkyou shita.
“Oh no! I only studied half of the lesson.”
*Note how だけ also fulfills the function of the direct object marker/particle を here. However, this will not always be the case, as the double particle usage of だけを is also possible (the reversed order of をだけ is grammatically incorrect).

彼は使える人(だけに/にだけ)優しい。
Kare wa tsukaeru hito (dake ni/ni dake) yasashii.
“That guy is only nice to people who are useful.”
*When だけ is used with certain other particles, the double particle combination is reversible; however, certain orders may be much more common and sound more natural.

僕だけが犯人の顔を見ました。
Boku dake ga hannin no kao o mimashita.
“It was just me who saw the culprit’s face.”
*The double particle combination of だけ and が can only be used in that order.

*The particle のみ is considered to be a formal version of だけ, usually only appearing in written language.

Similar Grammar Pattern(s):

Posted on

How-to Use Commas in Japanese (Intro to)

The comma punctuation (読点/とうてん) has been used in the Japanese language for decades (since the 1940s); but relative to the history of the entire Japanese language, a couple of decades actually isn’t quite that long at all.

As you might have been able to guess, the comma (and the period) were imported into the Japanese language from Western languages; and as such, the general function of it is pretty much the same as the English comma. However, wherein the English language has strict grammatical guidelines for where a comma must or must not appear (e.g. before a conjunction that connects two non-simple clauses, between entities in a list, etc.), the Japanese comma is used much, much, much more liberally, to the point where it is essentially up to the author of the sentence whether or not they want to include a comma at all.

With this information so far, we native English speakers have a somewhat decent idea of where to expect commas in Japanese sentences. If there would be a comma in that position in the English version of the Japanese sentence, then you can expect a comma there. Or not. It depends on if the author wants it there or not.

If you’ve read/watched enough of our other lessons, we’ve covered a decent amount of grammar patterns that would qualify as conjunctions of sorts-words or phrases that connect both halves of a sentence basically, and you might have noticed in said lessons that the example sentences would occasionally have commas positioned right before said words or phrases.

Here are a couple of examples pulled from various lessons:

皆の決定に従って、プロジェクトをやり直した。
Minna no kettei ni shitagatte, project o yarinaoshita.
(“Following the decision we made together, we redid the entire project.”)
*from Xに従って(従い) as “following X, in accordance with X”

ジョージワシントンはもう大人なのに、昨日、車の代わりに自転車を買った。
George Washington wa mou otona na no ni, kinou, kuruma no kawari ni jitensha o katta.
(Even though he’s already an adult now, George Washington went and bought a bicycle instead of a car yesterday.)
*from NOUNの代わりに as “in the place of NOUN, instead of NOUN, in lieu of NOUN”

私は一般的に肉が好きですが、今日、代わりにサラダにします。
Watashi wa ippanteki ni niku ga suki desuga, kyou, kawari ni salad ni shimasu.
(Although I’m usually fond of meat, today, I’ll go with salad.)
*from NOUNの代わりに as “in the place of NOUN, instead of NOUN, in lieu of NOUN”

 

With all that, we’ve basically covered half of what we need to know about Japanese commas.

The next half revolves around the concept that Japanese commas can pretty much appear in any position where the speaker would take a quick pause if the sentence was actually being spoken aloud. The general explanation for this is that the comma is used to separate elements within a sentence, in which case, said elements can pretty much be anything. At times, commas can also be placed between large conglomerates of kanji to avoid confusion. Both of these possibilities enable for much more radical and liberal placement for commas in Japanese sentences that may catch us off-guard.

Example(s):

今日、仕事がありますか?
Kyou, shigoto ga arimasuka?
“Do you have work today?”

こちらこそ、どうぞよろしくお願いします。
Kochirakoso, douzoyoroshikuonegaishimasu.
“It is I, who is looking forward to being under your care.”

日本では、まだ女のひとの生活に自動車を運転するということが普通になっていない。
Nihon de wa, mada onna no hito to no seikatsu ni jidousha o unten suru toiu koto ga futsuu ni natte inai.
“In Japan, women driving cars as a part of their daily lives has yet to become the norm.”

Posted on

How-to use ~らしい to mean “heard that~, seems like~, looks like~, etc.”

How-to use ~らしい to mean “heard that~, seems like~, looks like~, etc.”

Construction:
Plain-Form VERB + らしい
NOUN + (Conjugation) + らしい
い-ADJECTIVE + (Conjugation) + らしい
な-ADJECTIVE + (Conjugation) + らしい

Using the らしい grammar pattern is one of the many ways to express that you have heard something. Other such similar grammar patterns include ~みたい, ~よう, ~そう; and while there are times when usage of these grammar patterns are interchangeable, it is important to know the different nuances they have for the times when they are not.

The らしい grammar pattern is used when you are making a statement about something you have learned about from another source and not through first-person experience. This could be by means of hearing about, reading about, etc. This contrasts to the ~みたい and ~よう grammar patterns because they in fact can be used to make statements based off your own inferences and assumptions. As such, らしい is essentially never used to talk about oneself, as everything the speaker knows about themselves is from first-hand experience and not indirect sources.

Finally, the difference between らしい and ~そう (Plain Form Version) is that the latter expresses stronger degree of accuracy for the statement made.

(らしい also has a second, more adjectival function of expressing that something has a very characteristic quality of something else, but this will covered in a separate lesson.)

Example(s):
彼女は夫と離婚するらしい。
Kanojo wa otto to rikon suru rashii.
“I hear she’s going to divorce her husband.”
*Note how the usage of らしい here as opposed to みたい or よう implies that the speaker heard talk of the divorce happening as opposed to some first-hand experience such as the speaker witnessing the couple’s strained relationship and inferring that a divorce would occur.

彼は入学試験に失敗したらしい。
Kare wa nyuugakushiken ni shippai shita rashii.
“It appears he failed his entrance exam.”

明日は台風が来るらしい。
Ashita wa taifuu ga kuru rashii.
“It seems that a typhoon is suppose to come tomorrow.”

明日は、いい天気らしい。
Ashita wa, ii tenki rashii.
“It seems like tomorrow’s weather will be good.”

ここは世界的に有名なお店らしいです。
Koko wa sekaiteki ni yuumei na omise rashii desu.
“I heard that this place is a famous all across the world.”

Similar Grammar Patterns:
~みたい
~よう
Plain-Form CLAUSE + (そうだ) as “heard that ___”
Pre-ます Form VERB + そう
~らしい as “~-like”

Posted on

How-to use っぽい to say something-ish, -like

「Learn Japanese」 How-to use っぽい (to say something-ish, -like, -looking, -ly)

The grammar pattern Xっぽい is used to express that something is very “X-ish,” “X-like,” “X-looking,” or “X-ly.”

As one might have been able to guess from the somewhat cute-sy nature of  っぽい’s pronunciation, this word is predominantly used in conversational Japanese and is seldom seen at all in written language (most likely only when what is written is a transcript of a conversation).

Not only is っぽい more conversational and casual than most Japanese grammar patterns, but it is also very modern and actually even continually changing. So while there are in fact some words that just don’t sound right with the っぽい suffixed attached to them for various reasons (grammatically incorrect, unnatural sounding, more suited for other similar grammar patterns); when it comes to language, once something is used over and over and enters the majority (especially in mass media)-even if it is incorrect, it eventually becomes the norm.

Additionally due to this, っぽい is quite the nuance grammar pattern, so take some precaution in automatically translating to “-ish” or another definition every time you come across it. We have provided multiple English definitions/translations because none are universally compliant with っぽい, something that should become more apparent with the example sentences below.

Construction:
NOUN + っぽい
Pre-ます-VERB + っぽい
い-ADJECTIVE Stem + っぽい
な-ADJECTIVE + っぽい

Regardless of the initial word type (noun, verb, adjective), when っぽい is added as a suffix, the resulting compound word is an い-ADJECTIVE. As such, it henceforth follows the grammatical guidelines of an い-ADJECTIVE, e.g. its ADVERB form would be Xっぽく and its Negative Form-ない would be Xっelない.

Example(s):

彼は忘れっぽいから、ちょっと心配だ。
Kare wa wasureppoi kara, chotto shinpai da.
“He is kind of forgetful, so I’m a bit worried.”
*Notice the minor alterations we have to make to the word 忘れっぽい to naturalize it into English, as “forget-ish” would have simply been grammatically incorrect.

その赤っぽい車の隣に有名な店がある。
Sono akappoi kuruma no tonari ni yuumei na mise ga aru.
“Next to that reddish car right there is a famous shop.”

最近自分が男っぽいと悩む女性は多いようだ。
Saikin jibun ga otokoppoi to nayami josei wa ooi you da.
“It seems that nowadays there are a lot of woman who are insecure about how manly they come off as.”

日本にアニメグッズを買いに行くのはジョージっぽい。
Nihon ni anime goods o kai ni iku no wa George-ppoi.
“Going to Japan to buy anime goods is such a George-like thing to do.”
*Notice how you don’t always have to be instigating a comparison/contrast when calling something Xっぽい, as the X can even be someone’s own name, thus calling them very much like themselves.  

子供っぽい行動
kodomoppoi koudou
childish behavior

色っぽい話
iroppoi hanashi
an erotic tale

熱っぽい
netsuppoi
fever-ish

怒りっぽい
okorippoi
hot-tempered

Similar Grammar Pattern(s):

〜気味 as “slightly〜”
~らしい
~みたい

Posted on

How-to say “I get the feeling that ___” (___ような気がする)

How-to say “I get the feeling that ___” (___ような気がする)

The grammar pattern ~ような気がする as “I get the feeling that~/I get the feeling like~” is used when a speaker wants to express that they think-or more adequately, feel that something is true. It is a softer version of the grammar pattern that is ~気がする, which conveys a stronger confidence in what you are feeling. It is also somewhat similar to the grammar pattern ~ようだ, which also has a more affirmative tone. Finally, the “like” in “I get the feeling like~” is similar to the translation of the よう from the grammar pattern ~ような/ように to “like” as well.

Construction:
Verb-casual + (ような) 気がする
Noun + (のような) 気がする
いadj + (ような) 気がする
なadj + (な/のような) 気がする

Example(s):

雨が降るような気がする。
Ame ga furu you na ki ga suru.
“I have a feeling that it’ll rain.”

日本語は、勉強すればするほど難しくなるような気がする。
Nihongo wa, benkyou sureba suru hodo muzukashiku naru you na ki ga suru.
“With Japanese, I get the feeling that the more you study, the more difficult it becomes.”

前にあの人を見たことがあるような気がする。
Mae ni ano hito o mita koto ga aru you na ki ga suru.
I get the feeling as if I’ve seen that person before.

彼女は約束を守る気がする。
Kanojo wa yakusoku o mamoru ki ga suru.
“I have a feeling that she’ll keep her promise.”

皆が私達の秘密を知っているような気がする。
Mina ga watashitachi no himitsu o shitte iru you na ki ga suru.
I get the feeling that everyone knows our secret.

Similar Grammar Patterns:

NOUN + のよう(な/に) ____ as “like NOUN”
気がする
〜よう(だ/です)

Posted on

Basic Japanese Sentence Structure (How-to Form a Simple Sentence in Japanese)

Basic Japanese Sentence Structure (How-to Form a Simple Sentence in Japanese)

Let’s learn how-to form a simple sentence in Japanese! This lesson is 100% friendly to complete beginners to the Japanese language.

Here’s a list of vocabulary terms we will be using for this lesson:

私 (watashi) – “I”
ジュース (jyuusu) – “juice”
飲む (nomu) – “to drink”
テレビ (terebi) – “television, T.V.”
子供 (kodomo) – “children, kids”
見る (miru) – “to see, to watch”
彼女 (kanojo) – “girl, she”
家 (uchi) – “home”
帰る (kaeru) – “to return”
幽霊 (yuurei) – “ghost, apparition, spirit”
壁 (kabe) – “wall”
壊る (kowareru) – “to break”
コンピューター (konpyuutaa) – “computer”
買う (kau) – “to buy”

In order to make faster sense of how a Japanese sentence is constructed, we will be comparing the general Japanese sentence structure to that of the English language’s sentence structure.

English:
S-V-O
SUBJECT – VERB – OBJECT
“I drink juice.”

Japanese:
S-O-V  
SUBJECT – OBJECT – VERB
“I juice drink.”
私はジュースを飲む。
(”Watashi wa juice o nomu.”)

*If we included an indirect object as well as a direct object, it would appear before the direct object, just like it generally does in English!

Similarly to the English language however, this structure can get mixed up when we enter realms where creative license can take effect, e.g. characters in books, movies, television shows. However, Japanese has a sort of upper edge to English for when something like this happens because alongside those words, it has something called particles.

Introduction to Particles

The English language doesn’t have as many particles as the Japanese language in terms of simple sentences, but it does have some. We much more commonly refer to them as prepositions, because they denote something about the word they are right before and that something they denote is a relation to another part of the sentence. For example, when we hear the English particle “from,” we automatically have an idea of what the word right after it is going to be. Maybe a place, a time, or a noun. We also know that it definitely isn’t going to be a verb, because that would be grammatically incorrect.

Particles in the Japanese language work in the same way, except they’re indicative of the word right before it instead of right after it. So technically, they’re postpositions instead of prepositions. Also, like I said earlier, they have a wider range of word types they apply to. For example, the word could be a subject, an indirect object, a direct object, a location, etc.

(*Side-note: This is also one of the main reasons why spaces between words are considered unnecessary in the Japanese language, because particles-which are always in kana while the more meaningful words are usually in kanji, already serve that function of making it easy to tell when a word ends and a new one begins.)

Additionally, we have multiple options for particles to choose from for certain word types. For example:

は (wa) – the topic marker (can also be used to mark the subject)
が (ga) – the subject marker
を (o) – the direct object marker
に (ni) and へ (e) – the destination/location (either can be used but not both at the same time)

The word type that most apparently doesn’t have a particle-or particles, associated with it are the verb actions of the sentence; this is probably because the verb action almost always appears at the end of the sentence or clause so there’s not as much a need to distinguish it with a particle.

Introduction to the Concept of a Topic of a Sentence

So, sentences having a topic as well as a subject is something that is 100% unique to the Japanese language, at least if we’re just comparing Japanese to the English language. And what it is is pretty much just that, the topic of the sentence. If we were to literally translate it, it would be something like “Speaking of X,” or “As for X,” and then whatever the rest of the sentence is would come right after that.

The important thing for us to know now is that the topic doesn’t necessarily replace the subject of the sentence. There can be a sentence with a topic, a subject, and an object.

But in some cases it can replace the subject.
Our very first example was an example of this.

“I juice drink.”
TOPIC/SUBJECT – OBJECT – VERB
私はジュースを飲む。
(”Watashi wa juice o nomu.”)
*The topic marker は is used to mark “I,” which makes it not only the subject but also the topic.

The topic can even replace the object of the sentence.

テレビは子供が見る。
(”Terebi wa kodomo ga miru.”)
“Speaking of television, children watch (it).”
TOPIC/OBJECT – SUBJECT – VERB

*The concept of the topic marker は is actually something that we could talk about for hours, but this is where we’ll stop. It will definitely show up again with its complicated nature as you continue your Japanese studies.

Great, so now with what we’ve learned, we are now capable of forming pretty much any simple Japanese sentence with the help of a dictionary for some vocabulary.

彼女は家に帰りました。
Kanojo wa uchi ni kaerimashita.
“She went home.”
[SUBJECT-LOCATION-VERB]

幽霊を見た。
Yuurei o mita.
“(I) saw a ghost.”
[(SUBJECT)-OBJECT-VERB]

壁が壊れた。
Kabe g kowareta.
“The wall broke./The wall gave in.”
[SUBJECT-VERB]

コンピューターを買う。
Computer o kau.
“(I) will buy a computer”
[(SUBJECT)-OBJECT-VERB]

So, you might have noticed that in a decent amount of those examples, we omitted the subject from the entire sentence for some reason, despite that this whole lesson was about where the word types of the sentence should appear! The truth is doing that makes our speech sound a lot more natural and not like it came straight out of a textbook. How Japanese speakers frequently drop not only the subject of their sentences but also other parts such as the objects is a topic we’ll have to save for another lesson!

Awesome! So now that we’ve learned how to form the simplest kind of sentence in Japanese, we’re ready to move onto snazzier kinds of sentences that involve things like adjectives and verbs that just aren’t in the positive form. The following links below are recommendations on which subjects to learn about next to do just this, or, if you’re feeling adventurous you can find an index of every single one of our video lessons on our official website that makes it easy to find whatever thing you’re trying to learn next!

Related Topic(s):

Posted on

How-to turn NOUNS into ADJECTIVES (and ADVERBS) with 的 (てき)

How-to turn NOUNS into ADJECTIVES (and ADVERBS) with 的 (てき)

In the English language, words are relentlessly interchanging between word types. For example, the word “force” can be used as a noun (“a force”), a verb (“to force”), and an adjective (“forceful”).
When we talk about the specific case of turning noun words into adjectives, things can really messy in terms of what suffix we’re suppose to attach to them. Some words require the suffix “-ful” (forceful, wonderful, beautiful), some words require the suffix “-al” (mechanical, internal, musical, logical), some words require the suffix “-ous” (dangerous, fabulous, courageous). The list goes on and on.
(This isn’t even mentioning the numerous letter changes you have to do for each individual word before even adding the suffix on, e.g. “beauty” changing to “beauti” before adding on the “-ful” suffix)

Fortunately, the same process in the Japanese language is far simpler, as we only need to remember one suffix, 的 (てき). Adding the character 的 after a Japanese NOUN word will effectively turn that NOUN word into an ADJECTIVE word that means “[whatever the definition of the NOUN word is]-ish.”

Example(s):
効果 (“effect”) + 的 (“-ish”) = 効果的 (“effective”)
美術 (“art, fine arts”) + 的 (“-ish”) = 美術的 (“artistic”)
仮説 (“hypothesis”) + 的 (“-ish”) = 仮説的 (“hypothetical”)

When a NOUN word is turned into an ADJECTIVE word in this manner, the resulting ADJECTIVE word is always a な-Adjective and not an い-Adjective. And since all ADJECTIVE words used in this way are な-Adjectives, we can go even further and effectively use this same idea to turn NOUN words into ADVERB phrases due to the fact that all you need to turn a な-Adjective into an ADVERB phrase is the particle に appearing right after it. As such, we can have our previous three example words undergo an additional word-type transformation:

効果的 (“effective”) + に (“-ly”) = 効果的 (“effectively”)
美術的 (“artistic”) + に (“-ly”) = 美術的 (“artistically”)
仮説的 (“hypothetical”) + に (“-ly”) = 仮説的 (“hypothetically”)

Example Sentence(s):
もっと効率的に日本語が勉強したいです。
Motto kouritsuteki ni nihongo ga benkyou shitai desu.
“I want to be more efficient with my Japanese studies.”

具体的な日取りは決まっていない。
Gutaiteki na hidori wa kimatte inai.
“The exact date hasn’t been decided.”