Originally posted by Eirik
"What is the difference between chiisai and chiisana?"
there are two types of adjectives, i-adjectives and na-adjectives.
-na is added to na-adjectives when a noun comes after it, as in
(If I remember correctly, chiisai is one of those weird adjectives that can appear as either a -na or an -i adjective... so in this particular case "chiisai uchi" could also be possible.)
Let me give you some examples of usage of the different kinds of adjectives:
kono ie wa furui desu - this house is old
kono furui ie - this old house
as you see, i-adjectives do not change.
kono ie wa suteki desu - this house is beautiful
kono suteki na ie - this beautiful house
you simply have to memorize which adjectives are -na and which are -i to be able to use them correctly, but there are some things that can help you.
for instance, -na adjectives are adjectives of foreign origin (most of them derive from Chinese, but these days there are some from English too.) words of Chinese origin typically look different from Japanese ones, which you'll start to notice as you learn more of the language. -i adjectives, not surprisingly, always end in -i in their plain form (hageshii - violent, ureshii - happy etc.)
and -i adjectives are of course native Japanese words.
(by the way, "uchi" refers to one's home or someone else's home, the word "ie" which also means house is used in other contexts.)
moyashi said: "na makes an adjective into a noun."
no, but nouns can be made into adjectives by adding "teki na" to them.
some words of this kind are common like "ippantekina" meaning "general.)"
I know my reply is overly elaborate, i hope you don't mind
I just noticed this thread is several months old, but might as well post my message since i took the time to write it... phew!
cacawate said:Kirei and suteki cannot be used as i-adj. Kirei is an exception to the "i na" rule as it DOES end with an i but is still considered a na-adj. Suteki should be obvious because you cannot conjugate it into an adv. using the -ku rule
○ ookii = big
○ ookiku = largely
○ kirei na = pretty
X kireku = doesn't exist
kirei would then turn into:
○ kirei ni = prettily