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How to Say “And” in Japanese: Linking Adjectives with く て

How to Say “And” in Japanese: Linking Adjectives with く て:And now, the lesson you've all been waiting for ... how to say "and" in Japanese! Actually, there are many ways to convey “and,” but today, we're only focusing on i–Adjectives. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to say "and" by using く て (kute) to link two or more i–Adjectives in one sentence.

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Japanese Adjective Review

Before we begin, let's review a few common adjectives.

In Japanese, there are two types of adjectives: i–Adjectives and n / A–Adjectives. I-adjectives end in the hiragana character い (i), and n / A–Adjectives end in な. Today, we are only focusing on i–Adjectives.

Japanese I-ADJECTIVES

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
柔 ら か いyawarakaisoft
軽 いkaruilight
若 いwakaiyoung
優 し いyasashiichild
強 いtsuyoistrong
高 いtakaihigh / tall
古 いfuruiold
汚 いkitanaidirty
明 る いakaruibright
暗 いkuraidark

Now that we've familiarized ourselves with a few common i–Adjectives, let's create some sentences utilizing them.

Note: Adding で す (desu) to the end of the sentence makes it formal. Leaving it out makes the sentence casual.

こ の ブ ラ ン ケ ッ ト は 柔 ら か い で す。
Kono buranketto wa yawarakai desu.
This blanket is soft. 数学 の 先生 は 若 い。
Suugaku no sensei wa wakai.
The math teacher is young. 風 が 強 い で す。
Kaze ga tsuyoi desu.
The wind is strong. あ の ホ テ ル は 古 い。
Ano hoteru wa furui.
That hotel is old. 彼女 は 性格 が 明 る い で す。
Kanojo wa seikaku ga akarui desu.
She has a bright personality.

Why Link Multiple Adjectives into One Sentence?

Let's say you want to describe the features of a man in English. If you want to say that he's strong and handsome, you don’t say:

😐The man is strong. The man is handsome.

That would get boring after a while, making a separate sentence for every feature. If we're only describing one person (or thing), it's much less repetitive to just link the adjectives together with “and” and form one sentence. Like this:

😀The man is strong and handsome.

There, that sounds much better!

The same goes for Japanese. When listing multiple features of one person or thing, keeping it all in one sentence by linking the adjectives makes for a much more concise description.

However, when linking two or more i–Adjectives in Japanese, there is no "and." You have to conjugate the i-adjective into the -th form in order to convey "and."

How to Conjugate I-Adjectives into the -Te shape

There are two steps when conjugating an i–Adjective into the -th shape.

Step 1: Change the I-Adjective into the Nai (Negative) form

In order to change an i–Adjective into the nai form, you simply remove the final い character and replace it with く な い (kunai). Check it out below!

Japanese I-ADJECTIVES (NEGATIVE SHAPE)

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
柔 ら か ➝ 柔 ら か く な いyawaraka  ➝ yawarakakunaisoft ➝ not soft
若 ➝ 若 く な いwaka  ➝ wakakunaiyoung ➝ not young
強 ➝ 強 く な いtsuyo  ➝ tsuyokunaistrong ➝ not strong
古 ➝ 古 く な いfuru  ➝ furukunaiold ➝ not old
明 る ➝ 明 る く な いakaru  ➝ akarukunaibright ➝ not bright

Step 2: Change the Nai Form into the -Te shape

In order to change the nai form into the -te form, you simply remove the な い (nai) at the end of the word and replace it with て (te). 

Japanese I-ADJECTIVES (-TE SHAPE)

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
柔 ら か く ➝ 柔 ら か く てyawarakaku  ➝ yawarakakutenot soft ➝ soft and ...
若 く ➝ 若 く てwakaku  ➝ wakakutenot young ➝ young and ...
強 く ➝ 強 く てtsuyoku  ➝ tsuyokutenot strong ➝ strong and ...
古 く ➝ 古 く てfuruku  ➝ furukutenot old ➝ old and ...
明 る く ➝ 明 る く てakaruku  ➝ akarukutenot bright ➝ bright and ...

How to Link Two (or More) I-Adjectives in One Sentence

Now that we know how to conjugate i–Adjectives into the -th form, let's make some sentences! In order to connect two (or more) i–Adjectives in one sentence, you just add as many i-adjectives in their -th form as you want. The final adjective is NOT conjugated into the -th shape.

Note: The tense of the final adjective determines the tense of the sentence.

Let's look at some examples below. The first example is the boring one that uses two separate sentences to describe one thing. The second one is the better one that describes it all in one sentence.

Examples:

😐 こ の ブ ラ ン ケ ッ ト は 柔 ら か い で す。 こ の ブ ラ ン ケ ッ ッ ト は 軽 い で す 。😐
Kono buranketto wa yawarakai desu. Kono buranketto wa karui desu.😐
This blanket is soft. This blanket is light.😀 こ の ブ ラ ン ケ ッ ト は 柔 ら か く く て 軽 い で す 。😀
Kono buranketto wa yawarakakute karui desu.😀
This blanket is soft and light.
数学 の 先生 は 若 く て 優 し か っ た。
Suugaku no sensei wa wakakute yasashikatta.
The math teacher was young and kind. 風 が 強 く て 、 波 は 高 い で す。
Kaze ga tsuyokute, nami wa takai desu.
The wind is strong, and the waves are high. あ の ホ テ ル は 古 く て 、 暗 く て て 、 汚 か っ た。
Ano hoteru wa furukute, kurakute, kitanakatta.
That hotel was old, dark, and dirty.彼女 は 性格 が 明 る く て 優 し い で す。
Kanojo wa seikaku ga akarukute yasashii desu.
She has a bright and kind personality.null

In summary

For brevity’s sake and to avoid unnecessary repetition, when describing one person or thing, we combine the adjectives into one sentence. In English, we use “and” to link adjectives. In Japanese, i–Adjectives have to be conjugated into the -th form in order to be linked.

The -th form is created in two steps. First, you change the i-adjective into the negative (nai) form. Second, you remove the "nai"At the end of the word and replace it with"te.

The tense of the sentence is determined by the tense of the final adjective.

Now that you have a new grammar point under your belt, it's time to get out there and practice it! Remember, practice makes perfect, so make a date with your Japanese speaking partner today, and let's get to it!

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