30 Adjectives to survive daily life in Japan

It is recommended to read this article with the attached video to confirm the pronunciation and intonation of the adjective you learn in this article.
with English Subtitles

When you hit your hand, or when you drink very hot coffee, how would you react that moment? Oh! Oops! It would be a bit like that with Interjections, right?

But the Japanese would react with adjectives. Instead of saying “ay!”, directly, they would instantly say いたい! which is an adjective, it means it hurts, that you are not telling anyone in this case, it just comes out of the mouth as an expression of that moment. If you touch something hot, あつい!, or something cold, つめたい! etc.

And we use adjectives a lot in this way. It seems that we are sometimes talking only with adjectives and onomatopoeias! And the majority of cases of these moments we do not put verbs.

I would say, using adjectives you can at least survive in Japanese daily life even if you couldn’t handle verbs!

So today we will learn how to use the adjectives as expression.

Adjective な / い

Before that, I quickly explain to you about the two groups of adjective.

Adjective-い which is the majority and ends with い, and Adjective-な, the rest.

For example むずかしい, difficult, it is adjective-い

かんたん, easy, it’s adjective-な.

For the adjective of course we use the verb to be, therefore if it is formal, です, informal, for adjective-な, it would be だ, for adjective-い, it is not necessary to put verb だ in informal therefore nothing more. 

Adj-な formal: かんたんです。 informal: かんたんだ。

Adj-い formal: むずかしいです 。informal: むずかしい。

But in case of using adjective as an expression, even adjective-な is often used without verb.

Let’s complain

あつい! もうベタベタ! It is so hot! I feel so sweaty.

あ〜しんどい!スペインご、むずかしい! So tired! The Spanish language is too difficult.

With these examples you can realize one thing: that we use them a lot to complain.

In a life abroad one thing that gives you frustration is not knowing how to complain in its language. That always happens to me in Spanish!

Nothing loud to complain about, but at least you wish to say to someone if you feel bad, right? You have a headache, but if you do not know the adjective いたい, and you only make a suffering sound and face with a hand on your forehead, people do not understand too much what is going on. But if you say only one word い たい the situation would change and they would take care of you kindly.

And then the confusion comes to you from the fact that we cut or manipulate them when speaking, in the colloquial way.

The examples from earlier convert like this by talking to friends, or yourself.

あっつ〜、もうベタベタ!It is so hot! I feel a lot of sweat.

あ〜しんど! スペインご、むずかしすぎ!How tired! The Spanish language is too difficult for me.

When they use adjectives as an expression, especially in conversation including WhatsApp or Line messages or chat, everything sounds different from original adjectives.

So you need to know in which way they change because you want to chat with Japanese friends enjoying the colloquial way, you don’t want to talk as if you were at the serious business meeting everyday, right? And also of course they appear a lot in manga and anime in that way.

One adjective in three ways

One adjective can be said in three styles in order to use it as expression: first, as is, for example “さむい!”, as “how cold it is!”.

And in more colloquial style, we remove the last い, it would be “さむ!”.

And the last one, which sounds masculine and very relaxed, maybe too much, we change the last sound of the previous colloquial style to the vowel-i and lengthen, therefore “さむ” would be “さみ〜 (さみい)”, or change it to the vowel -e and lengthen, “つめた (from つめたい)” would be “つめて〜 (つめてえ)”, depending on the word.

In these three, you must realize that the last one is not used much by women and the most common of the three in conversation is the second. 

And in any way if you want to express even stronger, you can put small つ so さむい would be: さっむい, さっむい, さっみ〜 (さっみい).

The sensation of the body

(to complain)

Hot あつい あつ あち〜(あちい)
Feel Cold さむい さむ さみ〜(さみい)
Feel it so hard to do きつい きつ きち〜(きちい)
Sleepy ねむい ねむ ねみ〜(ねみい)
Feel weak だるい だる だり〜(だりい)
Itchy かゆい かゆ かい〜(かいい)
Cold (things) つめたい つめた つめて〜(つめてえ)
Feel pain いたい いた いて〜(いてえ)
Feel fear こわい こわ こえ〜(こええ)

(Nice Feeling with surprise)

Feel cool, fresh すずしい すずし
Warm あたたかい あったか あったけ〜(あったけえ)

The impression you feel

(To complain)

Not delicious まずい まず まじ〜(まじい)
Small ちいさい ちいさ ちいせ〜(ちいせえ)
Slow おそい おそ おせ〜(おせえ)
Quick, fast はやい はや はえ〜(はええ)
Very bad ひどい ひど ひで〜(ひでえ)
Long ながい なが なげ〜(なげえ)
Short みじかい みじか みじけ〜(みじけえ)
Noisy うるさい うるさ うるせ〜(うるせえ)
Dirty きたない きたな きたね〜(きたねえ)
Troublesome やばい やば やべ〜(やべえ)
Annoying うざい うざ うぜ〜(うぜえ)
Not fashionable  ださい ださ だっせ〜(だせえ)
Not generous せこい せこ

(Positive impression)

Great すごい すご すげ〜(すげえ)
Huge でかい でか でけ〜(でけえ)
Cute かわいい かわい〜
So cool カッコいい かっけ〜(かっけえ)

Long adjectives which we make shorter in conversation.

Weird きもちわるい → きもい  きも
Difficult むずかしい → むずい むず
Feel lazy めんどくさい → めんどい めんど