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I understand that you can use だい in the sense of "very", to emphasise すき and きらい. So だいすき is "very loved" and だいきらい is "very hated". Can だい be used for the same meaning in any other words? Can you use it to modify all adjectives?

Please reply using kana (kanji with furigana is fine.)

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2 Answers 2

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[大]{だい}[好]{す}き and [大]{だい}[嫌]{きら}い are somewhat special in that sense. Both 大{だい} and 大{おお} can be used with other words, but usually 大{おお} goes with 訓{くん}読{よ}み words and 大{だい} with 音{おん}読{よ}み words:

[大]{だい}[問]{もん}[題]{だい}
serious problem

大{おお}急{いそ}ぎ
pressing, urgent

One exception would be 大{おお}掃{そう}除{じ}.

Prefixing おお or だい, however, only works for specific words and I don't think there's any rule to determine which words take おお or だい for emphasis. For example, きれい is a na-adjective, but 大きれい (with either reading) doesn't work.

With i-adjectives and na-adjectives you can use other constructions for emphasis. Using すごく adverbially works in almost all situations and with all i-adjectives and all na-adjectives (e.g. すごく[楽]{たの}しい, すごくきれい). There are also many informal/conversational ways (using 超{ちょう}, めっちゃ, すごい, etc.) of saying the same thing. (See this answer.)

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Generally the rule is that when using [漢語]{かんご} (Chinese-derived words) you'd use [大]{だい}, and when using [和語]{わご} (native Japanese words) you'd use [大]{おお}. –  Kaji Mar 17 at 21:03

One usage of 「[大]{だい}」 that native speakers frequently use but Japanese-learners do not is in the form of 「[大]{だい}の」.

It is treated like a compound word meaning "huge", "full-fledged", "very good", etc.

大の[宮崎]{みやざき}ファン = a huge (Hayao) Miyazaki fan

大のおとな = a full-fledged adult

大のなかよし = a very good friend

大のコーヒー[好]{ず}き = a real coffee-lover

Note that in the last phrase, 「好き」 is pronounced 「ずき」, not 「すき」 and it is a suffix meaning "a person who likes ~~".

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As the の already suggests, 大の can only be used with nouns. –  Earthliŋ Mar 17 at 15:53

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