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<< address | adjectives >>

    Meaning: Using Adverbs and Gobi
    JLPT Level: 0
    Category: lesson
    Author: TaeKim

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Why adverbs and gobi?

Well, the two are not related to each other but I have decided to group them in one lesson because we will be covering only the two most common gobi for now and it is too short to be a separate lesson in itself.

Properties of Adverbs

Unlike English, changing adjectives to adverbs is a very simple and straightforward process. In addition, since the system of particles make sentence ordering flexible, adverbs can be placed anywhere in the clause that it applies to long as it comes before the verb that it refers to. As usual, we have two separate rules: one for i-adjectives, and one for na-adjectives.
How to change an adjective to an adverb
  • i-adjectives: Substitute the 「い」 with 「く」.
  • na-adjectives: Attach the target particle 「に」.
    例) きれいきれい

(1) ボブは朝ご飯早く食べた。- Bob quickly ate breakfast.
The adverb 「早く」 is a little different from the English word 'fast' in that it can mean quickly in terms of speed or time. In other words, Bob may have eaten his breakfast early or he may have eaten it quickly depending on the context. In other types of sentences such as 「早く走った」, it is quite obvious that it probably means quickly and not early. (Of course this also depends on the context.)

(2) アリスは自分部屋きれいした。- Alice did her own room toward clean.
The literal translation kind of gives you a sense of why the target particle is used. There is some argument against calling this an adverb at all but it is convenient for us to do so because of the grouping of i-adjectives and na-adjectives. Thinking of it as an adverb, we can interpret the sentence to mean: "Alice did her room cleanly." or less literally: "Alice cleaned her room." (「きれい」 literally means "pretty" but if it helps, you can think of it as, "Alice prettied up her own room.")

Note: Not all adverbs are derived from adjectives. Some words like 「全然」 and 「たくさん」 are adverbs in themselves without any conjugation. These words can be used without particles just like regular adverbs.
(1) 映画たくさん見た。- Saw a lot of movies.
(2) 最近全然食べない。- Lately, don't eat at all.

Let's look at more examples of adverb usage.
(1) ボブのは、結構大きい。 - Bob's voice is fairly large.
(2) このは、最近大きく変わった。- This town had changed greatly lately.
(3) 図書館では、静かする。- Within the library, [we] do things quietly.

What's a "gobi"?

In this section, we will cover the two most commonly used gobi. 「語尾」 literally means "language tail" and it simply refers to anything comes at the end of a sentence or a word. In this guide, I will use it to describe the one or two hiragana characters that always come at the end of sentences due to the lack of better terminology. These endings are often very hard to explain because many do not actually have a specific meaning. But they can change the 'sound' or 'feel' of a sentence and add some zest and pep to the sentence. The two we will cover here do have meanings and they are used quite often.

The 「ね」 gobi

People usually add 「ね」 to the end of their sentence when they are looking for (and expecting) agreement to what they are saying. This is equivalent to saying, "right?" or "isn't it?" in English.

Example 1

ボブ: いい天気。- Good weather, huh?
アリス: そう。- That is so, isn't it?
The literal translation of 「そうね」 sounds a bit odd but it basically means something like, "Sure is". Males would probably say, 「そうだね」.

Example 2

アリス: おもしろい映画だった。- That was interesting movie, wasn't it?
ボブ: え?全然おもしろくなかった。- Huh? No, it wasn't interesting at all.
Since Alice is expecting agreement that the movie was interesting Bob is surprised because he didn't find the movie interesting at all. (「え」 is a sound of surprise and confusion.)

The 「よ」 gobi

When 「よ」 is attached to the end of a sentence, it means that the speaker is informing the listener of something new. In English, we might say this with a, "You know..." such as the sentence, "You know, I'm actually a genius."

Example 1

アリス: 時間ない。- You know, there is no time.
ボブ: 大丈夫だ。- It's ok, you know.

Example 2

アリス: 今日いい天気だね。- Good weather today, huh?
ボブ: うんでも明日降る。- Yeah. But it will rain tomorrow, you know.

Combining both to get 「よね」

You can also combine the two gobi we just learned to create 「よね」. This is essentially used when you want to inform the listener of some new point you're trying to make and when you're seeking agreement on it at the same. When combining the two, the order must always be 「よね」. You cannot reverse the order.


アリス: ボブは、好きなんだよね。- You know, you like fish, dontcha?
ボブ: そうだね。- That is so, huh?

Copyright © 2003-2006 Tae Kim (
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  See Also:  
    [ Add a See Also ]
    BreeYou may want to edit your first example sentence in this lesson.

    In spoken Japanese, there is no way to tell the difference other than from context, but in written Japanese you can tell the following two sentences apart by the different Kanji used:

    彼は早く走った。 He ran early (in the morning, perhaps).
    彼は速く走った。 He ran fast/quickly.

    Someone please correct me if I`m wrong.

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