Multiple attributives

I have searched all over for this answer, so please forgive me if it’s been asked.

Are there hard and fast rules for multiple attributives (i.e. i-adjectives+noun, na-adjectives+na+nouns, short form verbs+nouns, nouns+no+nouns)? There are so many articles on how to chain together multiple predicates (with て form or で or と) but it’s never clear if it applies to attributives.

  1. If I’m chaining multiple adjectives (the quick brown fox) or verbs (the agent who shoots and kills), do I need to use the te form?
  2. What about adjectives together with short form verbs? (The big man who brings the mail)
  3. Does Japanese have a natural order of preference for attributes (verbs first, then adjectives, then no nouns?)

Thanks for helping me clear this up.

Yes. In the case of a na-adjective, you need to use the te form of the copula だ (so, で).

  1. In that case, it’s just multiple layer. So you would get something like 郵便物を運んでいる[大きい男] (not very natural in the choice of words, but hey)

  2. I guess? I don’t know it at the top of my head, but you can’t swap the order in the previous example, so it’s probably the case.

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In the ending for the current season of BnHA, there’s this line:


I’ve seen this also in literature (I think once in Kiki’s Delivery Service? Somewhere else too), and I was wondering how to parse it.

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Well, I’ve seen it too, but it’s agrammatical as far as I know.
Ex:用言/形容詞-2-活用/ mentions that you can only use the 連体形 (that specific い ending) in front of a noun.

Edit: found this:
The last part talks about how すごい has been (incorrectly) used in that fashion in recent years.



So for verb+adjective, you don’t need te-form? e.g.:


You do not need て since they aren’t connected to each other. They are both qualifying the noun.
(Although my gut instinct would be to say that 花をくれた qualifies かわいい女の子 as a unit, but I’m not a grammarian, so I don’t know for sure; doesn’t change the point anyway)

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I’ve been seeing it too much for me to accept it as agrammatical. I’ll try to pick my tutor’s brain for it some more - when I saw it with her once, it didn’t even register to her as agrammatical until I pointed it out, but she couldn’t explain very well how it differed from being connected with the て form.

(However it differs, innocent bystanders reading this should be aware that it is very much not the standard and preferred way to connect adjectives, even if it does turn out to be some sort of a grammatical structure.)

Right, I also realize that my previous post on すごい isn’t relevant as すごい was used to qualify the next adjective (and should thus be すごく) rather than the noun/subject.
I’ve seen a lot of agrammatical stuff in general (such as using 全然 with positive construction or the previously mentioned すごい) so it’s not like number makes right, but I feel a more poetic vibe from the current construction, so it seems more likely to have something about it.

Edit: Especially, in your example, the text reads やさしいやさしい. It feels more like a repetition for emphasis (plus the extra nuance from the use of each kanji).
Edit2: I can find a bunch of hits on google for 優しい優しい 悲しい悲しい and the like. (That last one also allowed me to find 悲しい嬉しい)


Is it possible that it’s poetic shorthand to 易しい愛で優しい愛? Kinda breaking the love into 2 individual and separate aspects, instead of it being 1 aspect with 2 interconnected attributes.

Edit: also, I’m wondering about whether it only works on i-adjectives or if it’s also applicable to i+na adjectives, na+i, or na+na, and what shape the na adjective would show up in (with na? Without na?)

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It’s possible. I kinda see it the other way around, though

The idea would be to put both adjectives as one, meshing completely their meaning (for instance 悲しい嬉しい would be feeling a nondescript mix of joy and sadness at the same time).
All those considerations are above my pay-grade though.

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You’re being paid for any of this??? :open_mouth: :hushed: :astonished: :exploding_head: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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My point exactly :stuck_out_tongue:

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Asked tutor #2: she says that 白い黒い何か, 長い広い所 etc are used often enough in casual speech and in speech-containing media, but that when using keigo, speaking officially, or talking with people outside of your uchi group you’d use the more formal 白くて黒い何か. Other than that, she says there’s no semantic or nuance-ic difference between the two.

In the case of 白い白い何か, she says the repetition is considered emphasis and is acceptable in formal speech.


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