What is a modifier and how it works in Japanese? 修飾語(しゅうしょくご)

Can you identify which word is modified by a modifer?

Today, I am going to explain how to tell apart modifiers and other words.


黄色いチューリップがとてもきれい。(The yellow tulip is very nice.)

黄色い チューリップが とても きれい。

Here in this sentence, we have a modifier, 黄色(きいろ)い.

Let’s find which word is modefied by ”黄色い”.

All you need to do is just to put “黄色い” in front of the each sentence.

For example:

  1. 黄色い チューリップ(Yellow tulip)
  2. 黄色い とても(Yellow very)
  3. 黄色い きれい(Yellow nice)

Did you know which one was correct?

The answe is “1”. Any of others do not make sense. So in the sentence, a modifier “yellow” is with a tulip.

To be more precise, ”黄色い” is an adjective, “形容詞(けいようし)”. So, it has to modefiy only nouns, not others.

とても is an adverb, “副詞(ふくし)”, and きれい is an adjective, ”形容詞”.


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