This is a companion page to the Quick-How-To for Japanese verb conjugation.
This is a compilation of information from many places.
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Japanese Adjective Conjugation

Go here for the Quick Japanese Verb how-to

There are two types of adjectives in Japanese: i-adjectives and na-adjectives.
I-adjectives all end in ~ i, although they never end in ~ ei (for example, kirei is not an i-adjective.)

Although Japanese adjectives have functions to modify nouns like English adjectives, they also function as verbs when used as predicates.
When i-adjectives are used as predicates, they may be followed by ~ desu to indicate a formal style.

Here are lists of common i-adjectives and na-adjectives.

Common I-Adjectives

akarui
bright
  nagai
long
akai
red
  oishii
delicious
atarashii
new
  omai
sweet
      ooi
many
atatakai
warm
  osoi
late, slow
atsui
hot
  ookii
big
      omoi
heavy
chikai
near
  omoshiroi
interesting, funny
chiisai
small
  samui
cold
furui
old
  semai
small (area)
hayai
early, quick
  shinsetsu
kind
hikui
low
  shirui
white
hiroi
spacious
  sukanai
few
ii
good
  suzushii
cool
isogashii
busy
  tooi
far
kibishi
strict
  takai
tall, expensive
kitanai
dirty
  tsumaranai
boring
      tsuyoi
strong
karui
light
  umaranai
boring
kumori
cloudy
  warui
bad
kurai
dark
  wakai
young
mijikai
short
  urusai
noisy
mazui
bad tasting
  utsui
thin
mushiatsui
humid
  yasashii
easy
      yasui
cheap
muzukashii
difficult
  yowai
weak

 

Common Na-Adjectives

adayakana
calm
     
anzenna
safe
  kikenna
dangerous
benrina
convenient
  kiraina
distasteful
chisaina
small
  kireina
pretty
      nigiyakana
lively
daikiraina
hated
  shinsetsuna
kind
daitsukina
most favorite
  shinkenna
serious
fubenna
inconvenient
  shizukana
quiet
genkina
healthy, well
  shoujikina
honest
gankona
stubborn
  sumaatona
slender
hadena
showy
  sukina
favorite
himana
free (time)
  taihenna
awful
henna
strange
  taimenna
lazy
ijiwaruna
mean
  teineina
polite
jouzuna
skillful
  yuumeina
famous

 

Modifying Nouns

When used as modifiers of nouns, both i-adjectives and na-adjectives take the basic form, and precede nouns just like in English. 

I-Adjectives chiisai inu
small dog
takai tokei
expensive watch
Na-Adjectives yuumeina gaka
famous painter
sukina eiga
favorite movie

 

I-Adjectives as Predicates

Adjectives can function like verbs and conjugate just like verbs.  

Informal Present Negative Replace the final ~ i with ~ ku nai
Past Replace the final ~ i with ~ katta
Past Negative Replace the final ~ i with ~ ku nakatta
Formal Add ~desu to all of the informal forms.
There is also a variation in the formal negative forms.
* Negative: Replace ~i with ~ku arimasen
* Past Negative: Add ~ deshita to ~ku arimasen 
These negative forms are considered slightly more polite than others. 

 

Example- conjugation of takai

  Informal Formal
Present takai takai desu
Present Negative takaku nai takaku nai desu
takaku arimasen
Past takakatta takakatta desu
Past Negative takaku nakatta takaku nakatta desu
takaku arimasen deshita

Exception

The adjactive "ii" (means good) is only one exception to the rule of i-adjectives. It derives from yoi, so its conjugation is mostly based on that of yoi.

  Informal Formal
Present ii ii desu
Present Negative yoku nai yoku nai desu
yoku arimasen
Past yokatta yokatta desu
Past negative yoku nakatta yoku nakatta desu
yoku arimasen deshita

Na-Adjectives as Predicates

These are called na-adjectives because ~na marks this group of adjectives when they directly modify nouns (e.g. yuumeina gaka). Unlike the i-adjectives, na-adjectives cannot be used as predicates without alteration; when a na-adjective is used as a predicate, the final ~na is deleted and replaced by ~ da (or ~ desu for formal speech).
Just as with nouns, ~ da or ~ desu change form to express the past tense, the negative, and the affirmative. 

  Informal Formal
Present yuumei da yuumei desu
Present Negative yuumei dewa nai yuumei dewa arimasen
Past yuumei datta yuumei deshita
Past negative yuumei dewa nakatta yuumei dewa 
arimasen deshita

General Rules

i-Adjectives
Non-Past   Past
Plain (dict) Polite Plain Polite
root + i root + i + de tsu + root + haata root + haata detsu
root + < na i

root + < na i de tsu

root+ < arimasen

- root + < na i kata root + < arimasendeshita
TE= root +< de        

 

na-Adjectives
Non-Past Past
Plain (dict) Polite Plain Polite
dict + da dict + de tsu + dict + daa ta dict + de shita
dict + de wa na ii

root + de ariimasen

root + ja arimasen

-

dict + de wa naikaata

dict + janai kaata

dict + dewa arimasendeshita

dict + ja arimasende shita

TE= root + de        
         

 

 

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