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I'm somewhat confused about the usage and limitations of the ~め suffix that means "somewhat/slightly". I've only ever heard it on a handful of words:

  • 大きめ
  • 小さ目
  • 多め
  • 少な目
  • 早め

and maybe a few others that I can't recall at present.

1) Can these be used with any イ-adjectives, or only certain ones?
2) Can they be used with ナ-adjectives at all? Can't say I've ever seen one.
3) What are the limitations of its usage? For the イ-adjectives, is ~めに interchangeable with ~く for forming the adverb?
4) などなど

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up vote 8 down vote accepted
  1. Yes. There seems to be no limitation on the combination of i-adjectives and .
  2. Yes. For example, 静かめの曲
  3. It is not interchangable. As you already wrote in the question, weakens the attribute expressed by the adjective. Therefore, the adverbial usage ...目に will in general be a weakening of the adverbial usage of ...く.

    • 早く走った 'ran early'
    • 早めに走った 'ran somewhat early'
  4. ???

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