Dearu/Na distinction. Shûshikei and Rentaikei explanation

Please correct me if I’m wrong:

I was studying the Keiyôdôshi topic on and I am not sure I fully understood the Na/Dearu use cases. In my view, Na is used when we’re talking about a noun that “characterizes” (talks about a quality) of another noun and Dearu is used when a sentence or noun composes a larger predicate.

The Shûshikei is the form that talks about the quality of something, and thus requires the copula to be in its adjectival form (Da/Na) and Rentaikei is when the relationship between two nouns compose a larger predicate and the first is describing the second, that does the action or displays another characteristic.

An example of the usage would be:

shizuka na kodomo ga urashikunai (The quiet child is not happy)[Shûshikei, shizuka is describing directly kodomo]
shizuka dearu kodomo ga urashikunai (Children who are silent are not happy)

Am I getting this right? Can a grammar nerd help a aspiring grammar nerd?


This is actually 連用系renyoukei since it’s using na. 終止形shûshikei literally means “termination/stop form” so it’s only used at the end of a predicate.

Also, did you mean うれしくないureshikunai?

I realize this supposed to be a simplified example, but it’s a really roundabout way of trying to connect しずかshizuka to こどもkodomo since しずかshizuka is already a na-adjective noun. It also carries a different nuance than just しずかなこどもshizuka na kodomo.

There’s honestly a lot more to unpack, but keep going and I think it will make more sense.

One thing to realize is that Japanese is a very noun heavy language and you can connect a noun to any noun with either na or no. In fact, one very common way to connect a modifying phrase to a noun is to use the 終止形shūshikei form of the verb just before a noun. (

The other piece of advice I would give is to learn hiragana and katakana and get your IME setup so you can type in it. You’ll have to do so sooner or later as you continue and you’ll find kana much easier to read than romaji. :slight_smile:


Seconding this… It’s probably just because I learned kana so early on in my journey (literally, the very first thing I did) but trying to read Japanese with romaji legitimately gives me a slight headache. :joy: It’s like, in my head, I have to convert the words over to kana/kanji as I read. It takes me longer to read and understand a romaji sentence than the same sentence in kana/kanji.

I see 静かな, and immediately recognize it and know the meaning. I see shizuka na, and it takes me longer to be like, “Ah, that’s this word.” Odd, because while my listening is definitely not as strong as my reading, there’s not generally that same delay in understanding with spoken Japanese, so you’d think romaji would be fine. :upside_down_face:


Haha, yeah, I had to rewrite all of the OP’s examples in a separate text document so I could get them in my head properly. It’s actually why I’m ambivalent about Jay Rubin’s book. The content is really good but the romaji was so hard to parse.


I can read an write every kana, with no trouble. My IME is not working on this computer and I am simply too tired to fix it. hahahaha

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Ah, ok, cool. :smiley::+1:

I hope you also got your question cleared up. If you have any follow up questions, we have a dedicated grammar question thread here:

There’s a lot more people watching that one so you usually get more responses.

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