Trouble with colors and adjective forms

Hey guys, I am fairly new to learning Japanese but I am greatly enjoying it so far but recently came across something I really don’t seem to get.

One of the recent kanji I have learned is 赤 (Red) but then would quickly be shown the “adjective” form of it as 赤い which has really stumped me. Isn’t “red” by definition already an adjective…? It’s literally describing an attribute about an object. Plus the contextual sentences given for each example did not really show me any clear difference between the two. Both seemed to be used interchangeably to call an object red.

So basically I am asking for anyone who can help explain it to me as I am sure I am just missing something. When is 赤い used and when is 赤 meant to be used?

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can provide.

The い is basically there for conjugation of the adjective. See Here for more info on adjectives. The kanji itself can be used for more than adjectives. Like in 赤ちゃん (Baby) where there is no い.

In English, “red” the noun and “red” the adjective look the same. In Japanese, they don’t.



赤 is a noun in this sentence.

Colours can certainly be nouns, though it’s harder to spot the difference in English. Some sentences where ‘red’ is a noun:

“Red is found near the bottom of the visible spectrum.”

“Socialist parties often use red in their logos and symbols.”

“The most popular colour for cars this year was red.”

“Red is usually associated with danger.”

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I like to think of the kanji (pink) as the concept, and the vocab (purple) as whatever grammar type is needed. So 赤 is the idea of red and 赤い is the adjectival manifestation of “赤”. And 赤うめしゅ is yummy.

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