ii and na adjective conjugation present and past tense

by Buddy Lindsey


There are two types of adjectives which I will cover in another post, but for the time being know there are い-adjectives and な-adjectives. Very roughly, い-adjectives end in い and な-adjectives use な after the adjective before proceeding to the rest of the statement.

Adjectives, like verbs, conjugate for tense and polarity. However, い-adjectives and な-adjectives conjugate differently. The conjugation of adjectives are similar to verbs in that you need to remember what to add, how and when. Its not to bad after you write it down a few times.

い-adjectives present



If you will notice present affirmative is pretty straight forward. It is the dictionary form plus です. I think the negative tense on all the adjective conjugation is fun, because it is easy to remember if you recall my “Basic Existense” post. If you remember あります is existence and you do conjugation based on that. Basically you are adding a verb to the adjective to do your negatives.

Here are some examples

Present Affirmative

  • あたらしいです
  • いそがしいです
  • こわいです
  • つまらないです

Present Negative

  • あたらしいくありません
  • いそがしいくありません
  • こわいくありません
  • つまらないくありません

Next is the past tense form of い-adjectives. They are similar enough in how you approach them. Just remember you do all your normal stuff for the negative. Add the verb aru, make it negative, add past tense. For affirmative just add かった between the word and です.

い-adjectives past



Not really anything too very different. Is just similar to verb conjugation where you add a little bit more to it. I’ll list out the same examples as above just past tense now.

Past Affirmative

  • あたらしかったです
  • いそがしかったです
  • こわかったです
  • つまらなかったです

Past Negative

  • あたらしいくありませんでした
  • いそがしいくありませんでした
  • こわいくありませんでした
  • つまらないくありませんでした

Next, up on the block is な-adjectives they are fairly straight forward, not that い-adjectives weren’t. Just remember for negative you have ありません.

な-adjective Present



I am sure that might have thrown you for a loop there. Affirmative is JUST like い-adjectives. Keeps it simple. The negative is the same as い-adjectives just add じゃ to it in the middle. Here are a few examples.

Present Affirmative

  • きらいです
  • しずかです
  • だいきらいです
  • ひまです

Present Negative

  • きらいじゃありません
  • しずかじゃありません
  • だいきらいじゃありません
  • ひまじゃありません

Now on to the past tense of な-adjectives these are fairly straight forward as well. Just remember the suffix’s and you will be golden. Just remember for negative you have the verb ありる with some type of conjugation.

な-adjective Past



Still simple just remember the suffixes. You have でした for affirmative and you just add でした to present negative past tense for negative.

Past Affirmative

  • きらいでした
  • しずかでした
  • だいきらいでした
  • ひまでした

Past Negative

  • きらいじゃありませんでした
  • しずかじゃありませんでした
  • だいきらいじゃありませんでした
  • ひまじゃありませんでした

Just remember the past tense negative for verbs had でした in it too. There are a lot of similarities that can make things easier if you just remember basics. Try not to get hung up on how long these are, but the basics of each suffix in how it conjugates. Also remember with な-adjective conjugation you don’t need to include the な in the word.

Now for the final conjugation it is an い-adjective, but is an exception. I wanted to save the most important for last and the, what looks like, one excpetion when doing conjugation. That is the word いい (good). This is used A LOT from what I hear, literally. So it is important to know how it conjugates properly. Lets see all the forms for it then I’ll explain what is going on if you haven’t figured it out.

Present Affirmative

Present Negative



Notice for the present affirmative it stays in dictionary form, but for all the rest it changes to よ. It is a very easy thing to do, but needed to be pointed out. Try saying the words a few times if you have listened to a lot of Japanese then they should sound familiar. If not start listening for them.

I know this was a long post with a lot of information in it. I hope you hung in there. This is actually amazingly useful and once I learned it these conjugations started showing up quite a bit and made several things make more sense in my listening comprehension. Hopefully this will do the same for you.

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