How to use 特有?

I just came across this sentence and understand the meaning, but I have no idea how it attaches right after another word, like in the sentence " 彼らは高齢者特有のニーズを考慮に入れるのを怠った" I’m just so confused, as it is meant to be a na/no-adjective, but is somehow attached directly after a noun? as in 特有 attaches right to the back of 高齢者. (sentence from jpdb)

It basically can work like a suffix, sticking directly to something. It’s kind of unusual in that regard, I guess.

I don’t think there’s any grammar you need to remember. It’s just how that word works.


Thanks! Is there many other words grammatically similar to this word I may have to look out for?

I can’t think of any off the top of my head that are like that but aren’t listed in the dictionary as a suffix, but I’ll think on it.

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Thanks! You’ve been a great help. I’ve been trying to figure this out for like 30 minutes :sweat_smile:

For me the question is, why is this word not listed as a suffix? Maybe EDICT needs to extend their entry for that word? because it clearly is used as a suffix, no? :thinking:

I think maybe JMDICT uses ‘suffix’ for things that can’t be standalone nouns? If you want 特有 to be a suffix, should 学校 also be a suffix because you can write 日本語学校 ?

Words with similar meaning to 特有 can follow a noun in the same way it can, eg this example for 独特:


My thinking is that 日本語学校 is just a combination of two nouns, whereas in the case of 高齢者特有 it is kind of a modifier in a way?

But then again, JMDICT seems to use “suffix” in lots of cases, e.g.

which looks very similar to me to your 学校 example :woman_shrugging: but they split this up to indicate a different meaning, or

where they point out that a certain meaning of a noun can be used in standalone or suffix form.

So I dunno, but it looks to me as if (compared to these at least) 特有 deserves to be listed as a suffix…

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I do kind of see what you mean, but 高齢者 and 特有 are also both nouns, so there’s not really much of a grammar difference here.

The difference with 日本語学校 to me is that you could have 日本語の学校 (though I understand the nuance changes), but I don’t think you could have 高齢者の特有のニーズ

I think the point of the OP is that 特有 is not listed as a noun in Jisho though…

It’s only listed as a の-noun, i.e. 特有の… usage. Maybe that would be the first thing to change then?

If you can’t have that, does it mean that the の-noun entry is wrong altogether? :exploding_head:

You can have eg 高齢者の特有の疾患に対応するため (from somewhere in this govt document).

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adj-no is ‘nouns which may take the genitive case particle “no”’, so every adj-no is a noun, I think.

Guess I just haven’t run into it before. My wife thought it (the combo I mentioned in my previous post) sounded strange when I asked her, but I guess it’s not strange to all natives.

I’m not sure what linguistic terms exist to describe what I perceive as the difference with this and 日本語学校, but I still think it exists.


Tsukuba Web Corpus is agreeing with you.
Some of the 名詞+の+特有 don’t even use 特有 as a standalone word, so the real number should be even lower
Bildschirmfoto 2024-01-09 um 10.27.08

Regarding the jisho entry: since 独自 and 独特 both also list “noun” separately, 特有 probably should as well. They all feel very similar in their usage to me.


I was just going off of the evidence that Jisho lists those separately, e.g.

Entry 1 can serve both as standalone noun and no-adjective; 2-5 are only used standalone, and 6. is only used as no-adjective. Which looks to me as if they want to make a distinction between the two classes :thinking:

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