Nouns that are also na-adjectives?

I know that na-adjectives can be considered to be nouns, but take 平安 as an example: it means peace, which is only a noun in English. There is no translation to “peaceful”, at least on WK and The example sentence is:


but I can’t tell if it’s being used as a noun or adjective here due to the sentence being way too complex for me.

Another example of na-adjective/noun is 安全.

I can’t find examples of these words being used like na-adjectives in a way I’m used to, e.g. きれいなおんな.

So I guess my question is, can someone give me an example of nouns like this being used as na-adjectives? I can’t seem to find any, but my grammar is not super amazing yet either, so it’s quite possible I missed some.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

If it’s taking を as a particle, it can’t be an adjective, because an adjective can’t be a direct object.

The first example here uses な

Here’s a page for 安全

I agree, I don’t quite understand why you think it’s being used as an adjective here?

My real question is what reading does this have?


Probably いにしえ

EDIT: Just as an aside, yes, WK is very bad about consistently giving English translations or synonyms that correspond to all the given forms of a word. Just look at the list of forms and infer from that what can be done.

I think I understand your problem - you’re thinking that words like 平安 are inherently adjectives (such as “strong” in English, which is an adjective-turned-noun), when they’re not. They’re nouns, and they operate as nouns. However, some nouns can be made into adjectives by adding な. 静か means ‘silence’; 静かな means ‘silent (put-something-here)’. When you want to say that a person is being silent, you’d say 人は静かだ without the な, because the な is only used to connect between a na-adjective and a noun (or another na-adjective in the position of a noun, such as in the case of “静かな平安”). This is in opposition to i-adjectives that most certainly do not work that way.

You’ll have to learn from practice which nouns can be turned into adjectives by adding な and which can’t, and sometimes what you’ll discover will be pretty surprising. For example, ハンサム takes な, for some reason. I was very surprised when I heard it the first time.

But even if you think about adjectives in English when they’re used as nouns, you’ll notice that when they function as nouns, they work almost exactly the same way as proper nouns do. “Take the strong (and make them weak)” (direct object); “take from the strong” (indirect object). There are still differences such as not pluralising the adjectives-turned-nouns, but they’re essentially used the same.

yeah Adjectival-Nouns really confused me when I first delved into grammar but it started to make sense when I looked up some basic linguistic information about Japanese. The fact that its so agglutinative relative to English lets you string together all these words into phrases that you can’t always exactly do the same way as English. It’s just one of those things that you just have to intuitively come to realize after thinking more of what the heart of this language really is, or at least that’s how I came to understand it.

What do you mean by that? You can certainly say “noun は い-adjective”

The car is red

You can’t really say 早い赤い though, which would be the equivalent of stringing two な-adjectives (like 静かな平安).

You can link い adjectives with the て form, though they’re obviously not modifying each other since neither is a noun.

That’s exactly what I was going for - you can modify a な-adjective with another な-adjective, which is something you can’t do with い-adjectives. There are a bunch of a few other differences, but essentially, な-adjectives function as nouns until they’re made into adjectives, as far as I’m aware.

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