Adjectives part 2

Second type of adjectives: い-adejctives.

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KanjiVocabularyAdjectives part 2


Small, Little

Big, Large

Cheap, Relax

Tall, High, Expensive

Good, Skilled







Small, Little


Big, Large


Cheap, Inexpensive


High, Tall, Expensive, High-pitched


Good, Nice


University, College

Adjectives part 2

As opposed to the foreign origins of な-adjectives, い-adjectives have Japanese origins. Lets take a look at the dictionary form of some い-adjectives:

  • ちいさい - Small
  • おおきい - Big
  • やすい - Cheap
  • たかい - Expensive

As you can see above, the dictionary forms of い-adjectives all end with . This is different from な-adjectives which do not all end with the character .

Noun Modification

When い-adjectives are used to modify nouns, the adjective takes the dictionary form. The dictionary form already ends with a , so there is no need to add one to the end like you would for な-adjectives.

  • ちいさいパーティー
  • A small party
  • やすいパン
  • A cheap bread


Changing the forms of い-adjectives is more complicated than changing the forms of な-adjectives. Let's take a look at the differences below.

Non-past Affirmative

Append the dictionary form of the adjective with です to turn an い-adjective into non-past affirmative form.

  • ちいさいです。
  • It is small.
  • おおきいです。
  • It is big.
Non-past Negative

Remove from the end of the adjective and add くないです or くありません to turn an い-adjective into non-past negative form.

  • ちいさくないです。
  • It is not small.
  • おおきくありません。
  • It is not big.

Similarly to the negative forms of です that we learned in Beginner Lesson 4, the phrase ありません makes the sentence politer than saying ないです.

Past Affirmative

Remove from the end of the adjective and add かったです to turn an い-adjective into past affirmative form.

  • やすかったです。
  • It was cheap.
  • たかかったです。
  • It was expensive.
Past Negative

Remove from the end of the adjective and add くなかったです or くありませんでした to turn an い-adjective into past negative form.

  • やすくなかったです。
  • It was not cheap.
  • たかくありませんでした。
  • It was not expensive.

Reference table

The table below shows a reference for all of the above form patterns using the adjective 大きい.

Non-past大きいです大きくないです, 大きくありません
Past大きかったです大きくなかったです, 大きくありませんでした


There are some exceptions to the above stated form patterns for い-adjectives. We won't list them all now, but there is one in particular that you should be aware of. The い-adjective 良い has two readings: いい and よい. The いい reading can only be used in the present tense affirmative form, the rest must use the よい reading.


Here are some examples, take note of the different readings of 良い as mentioned above.

  • ギターはたかいです。
  • Guitars are expensive.
  • これはたかいギターです。
  • This is an expensive guitar.
  • 日本にほんかったです。
  • Japan was good.
  • あれは大学だいがくです。
  • That is a good university.


When you would like to form a question sentence with adjectives of any type and form, you can simply add from Beginner Lesson 5 at the end of the sentence.

  • うみはきれいでしたか。
  • Was the sea beautiful?
  • 日本にほんいですか?
  • Is Japan good?
Complete Lesson
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