learn some basic knowledge about Japanese Adjectives right now

Let's try to understand some basic concept about Adjectives.
learn some basic knowledge about Japanese Adjectives right now

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 Adjectives: Yoi/Ii 良い

The word for “good” is yoi 良い. However, it is not as easy as simply using it as the opposite of warui 悪い. The first problem we encounter is that it’s usually replaced with its contracted form: ii いい. However, it is yoi 良い that is used for conjugation. There is also the problem of nuance, which is the hardest problem for learners. 

Good Ole Yoi/Ii 良い

When you conjugate yoi/ii よい・いい, you must use yoi よい for everything aside from the non-past tense.

 Form Plain Speech Polite Speech
 Non-past Yoi/ii よい・いい Yoi desu/ii desu よいです・いいです
 Past Yokatta よかった Yokatta desu よかったです
 Negative Yokunai よくない Yokunai desu よくないです
 Negative Past Yokunakatta よくなかった Yokunakatta desu よくなかったです
 Te て Form Yokute よくて Yokute よくて
 Adverbial Form Yoku よく Yoku よく

In the example sentences below, yoi/ii よい・いい are used in the various forms above with nuances that all revolve around “good (for)/fine/excellent/pleasant/agreeable/ready/sufficient/beneficial/okay.”

1. 成績せいせきくなった。
Seiseki ga yoku natta.
My grades become good/got better.

2. 今週こんしゅうは(お)天気てんきくないですね。
Konshū wa (o)tenki ga yokunai desu ne.
The weather this week isn’t good, huh.

3. うんかったですね。
Un ga yokatta desu ne.
My/our/your/his/her luck was good, huh.

4. かれはかっこよくてやさしいですね。
Kare wa kakko yokute yasashii desu ne.
He is cool and nice, isn’t he?

Phrase NoteKakkō yoi 格好良い means “attractive/good-looking/stylish,” and in the spoken language, it is typically contracted to kakko ii かっこいい. It is frequently alternatively spelled as カッコいい.

5. 印象いんしょうくなかったです。
Inshō ga yokunakatta desu.
Its impression wasn’t good.

6. 従業員じゅうぎょういん対応たいおうくなかった。
Jūgyōin no taiō ga yokunakatta.
The employees’ handling wasn’t good.

7. かった!
Thank goodness!

8. いおとしを!
Yoi o-toshi wo!
Have a good New Year!

Phrase Note: This phrase is more or less the same as saying “Happy New Year” in the West, and as such, it is not used once the New Year has begun. Even in the spoken language, /yoi/ is still the predominant pronunciation in this set phrase. However, /ii/ would not be wrong.

9. それはよかったですね。
Sore wa yokatta desu ne.
I’m glad to hear that.

Sentence Note: One could more literally be expressed as sore wo kiite yokatta desu neそれを聞いてよかったですね. However, this would emphasize being glad that you heard whatever “that” is.

10. タバコはからだくないです。
 Tabako wa karada ni yokunai desu.
Tobacco is not good for the body.   

Spelling NoteTabako may be alternatively spelled as たばこ or 煙草.

11. いい景色けしきですね。
Ii keshiki desu ne.
What nice scenery, no?

Sentence Note: This may be more literally expressed by adding the adverb nanto なんと at the beginning of the sentence, but because this is very emphatic, the adjective subarashii 素晴らしい (wonderful) would be more appropriate.

12. かれうでがいいですよ。
Kare mo ude ga ii desu yo.
He too has good skill.

Phrase NoteUde ga yoi/ii 腕が良い is a set phrase meaning “able/skilled,” and both /yoi/ and /ii/ are correct pronunciations; however, the latter is most common in the spoken language.

13. 糖尿病とうにょうびょう食品しょくひんおしえてください。
Tōnyōbyō ni yoi shokuhin wo oshiete kudasai.
Could you please tell me foods that are good for diabetes?

Spelling Note: As you may have noticed, writing yoi/ii よい・いいin Kanji usually indicates that the pronunciation is /yoi/. Although this not a guarantee, it shows that the sentence is stilted to the written language.

14. 覚悟かくごはいいか?
Kakugo wa ii ka?
You prepared?

Tone Note: This sentence is both casual and indicative of a superior-inferior relationship. Meaning, the speaker is in no way below the listener in status.

15. 相性あいしょうが良いカップルの特徴とくちょうなにですか。
Aishō ga yoi/ii kappuru no tokuchō wa nan desu ka?
What are the characteristics of a couple that suits each other.

Phrase NoteAishō 相性 means affinity, and so aishō ga yoi/ii 相性が良い literally means “affinity is good.” The opposite of this is aishō ga warui 相性が悪い.

16. 映画えいがかったです。
Eiga wo mite yokatta desu.
I’m glad I watched a/the movie.

Grammar NoteTe yokatta てよかった is used to mean “I’m glad that (I)…” It may be used in reference to being glad that an action was done or that a particular situation came to be. 

Spelling Note: Spelling miru as 観る indicates that you watched the movie somewhere, most likely a theatre.

Rejecting an Offer

Just as in English with the word “fine,” ii may be used in rejecting offers.

17. ええ、いいですよ。
Ē, ii desu yo.
Sure, that’s fine.

18. (いや、)いいです。
(Iya,) ii desu.
(No,) I’m fine.

However, just as in English, many people just don’t get it and do whatever you intended to say “no” to anyway.

Spelling Notes:

1. When 良い’s nuance focuses on the nature/behavior/actions/status of someone/something is satisfactory, it may be alternatively spelled as 善い. However, this is rather rare in today’s writing.

2. When 良い's nuance focuses on the auspicious nature of something, then it may be alternatively yet rarely spelled as 好い, 佳い, or 吉い. Unless you read works of the famous Natsume Sōseki 夏目漱石, you’ll likely never see them.

No Need/Insulting/Irony

As an extension of rejecting with ii, it may also be used in an insulting/ironic manner in several set phrases.

19. もういいです。
Mō ii desu.
That’s enough.

Sentence Note: Even in English, this phrase may be quite offensive depending on the situation.

20. いい加減かげんにしてください!
Ii kagen ni shite kudasai!
Please cut it out!

21. いいとし(を)して実家暮じっかぐらしはずかしい。
Ii toshi (wo) shite jikkagurashi wa hazukashii.
Living at one's parents’ house despite being old enough to know better is embarrassing.

Phrase NoteIi toshi (wo) shite いい歳(を)して is a set phrase used to insult someone for something that is unbecoming of his age. Jikkagurashi 実家暮らし is a set phrase meaning living with one’s parents, particularly at their home.

22. あんた、いい迷惑めいわくだよ。
Anta, ii meiwaku da yo.
You’re a real nuisance.

Phrase NoteAnta あんた is a coarse contraction of anata あなた (you). Only in non-Standard Japanese dialects is it used in a less casual and coarse manner. Male speakers of Arabic should especially take caution in not overusing it as it may be tempting to use it due to it coincidentally sounding like the word for “you.”

23. いいざまだ。
Ii zama da.
It serves you/him/her right!

24. いい気味きみだ。
Ii kimi da.
It serves you/him/her right!

Phrase Note: This is synonymous to Ex. 23. Kimi literally means “feeling/sensation” and zama ざま literally means “sorry state.” It may also be seen as a suffix attached to verb stems to mean “manner of.” For example, ikizama 生き様 means “way of life.”

25. いいご身分みぶんだね。
Ii go-mibun da ne.
How can you afford it?

Phrase NoteGo-mibun ご身分 is literally a respectful phrase referring to someone’s status. Here, it is being used sarcastically to lead to a question about how the other person could possible afford the item of discussion.

Spelling Note: Although not really common at all, these negative nuances of ii いい may be spelled in Kanji alternatively as 好い.

Set Phrases

There are plenty of set phrases in which yoi/ii よい・いい are attached to nouns to create a compound expression. In this case, the main difference is typically whether the sentence is made for the written or spoken language. For the written language, yoi よい will be your choice, and for the spoken language, ii いい will be your choice.

26. 朝風呂あさぶろ気持きもち{よい・いい}です。
Asaburo mo kimochi-yoi/ii.
The morning bath also feels good.

27. とりたちの心地ここち{よい・いい}さえずりにみみかたむける。
Toritachi no kokochi-yoi/ii saezuri ni mimi wo katamukeru.
To listen carefully to the pleasant songs of the birds.

Phrase NoteMimi wo katamukeru 耳を傾ける literally means “to tilt one’s ears.” Kokochi 心地 means “sensation,” and it is seen following the stem of verbs as gokochi to show the “sensation of doing.” In which case, these phrases are very frequently followed by yoi/ii よい・いい.

Grammar Note-tachi たち is a suffix that indicates a group of something.

Spelling Note: Although rare and difficult, saezuri may be alternatively written in Kanji as 囀り.

28. 居心地いごこち良い場所ばしょ特別とくべつ時間じかんごす。
Igokochi-yoi/ii basho de tokubetsu na jikan wo sugosu.
To spend special time at a cozy place.

29. 高層こうそうマンションの最上階さいじょうかい心地ごこち良いのですか。
Kōsō manshon no saijōkai wa sumigokochi-yoi no desu ka?  
Is it comfortable living on the top floor of a high-rise apartment complex?

Reading Note: Due to the presence of no desu ka のですか, it becomes more unlikely that 良い is read as /ii/.

Yoku よく

The adverbial form yoku よく may be used to mean “nicely/well” or “frequently/often,” but differentiating between these usages will require contextual clues.

30. をよくみがいてください。
Ha wo yoku migaite kudasai.
Brush your teeth well.

31. かれ本当ほんとうによくみがいているかどうかわかりません。
Kare wa hontō ni yoku ha wo migaite iru ka dō ka wakarimasen.
I don’t really know whether or not he brushes his teeth often.

32. よくやりましたね。
Yoku yarimashita ne.
Wow, you did well.

33. あのはおかあさんとよくていますね。
Ano ko wa okā-san to yoku nite imasu ne.
That child closely resembles his/her mother.

34. それ、最近さいきんよくきますね。
Sore, saikin yoku kikimasu ne.
You here that a lot recently, don’t you.

35. よく電話でんわする相手あいて登録とうろくする。
Yoku denwa suru aite wo tōroku suru.
To register those one often calls.

36. わたしはよくピザを注文ちゅうもんします。
Watashi wa yoku piza wo chūmon shimasu.
I often order pizza.

37. イチゴをよくべますか。
Ichigo wo yoku tabemasu ka.
Do you often eat strawberries?

Spelling Note: Ichigo may alternatively be spelled in Kanji as 苺.

38. よくいてください。
Yoku kiite kudasai.
Please listen closely.

39. かれは、手際てぎわよく食器しょっきかさねていました。
Kare wa, tegiwa yoku shokki wo kasanete imashita.
He was skillfully stacking tableware.  

40. そのカメはうんよく長生ながいきしました。
Sono kame wa un yoku nagaiki shimashita.
The turtle luckily lived a long life.

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