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The passage suggests that not all na-type adjectives can be used as real nouns as shown in (b). It doesn't seem to be a case of careless choice of words, since in the 2nd para, the passage uses "some" and in the 3rd para, the passage uses "all", and there is an explicit contrast.

I was wondering why is it that not all na-type adjectives can be used as real nouns. As far as I know, all na-type adjectives can be used as if they are real nouns, like for example, this is grammatical right:


Is there even 1 na-type adjective that can't be used as a real noun as shown in (b) (to prove that passage right) ?

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特有は確かだ sounds ungrammatical. – user458 Aug 26 '11 at 1:11
I don't know that it's ungrammatical per se, but it sure doesn't make sense. Could one say 特有があることは確かだ。, that is, without specifying the 特有? Something like "There's something about it", a je ne sais quoi sort of meaning? – rdb Aug 26 '11 at 1:34
To simplify the example, in それは確かだ, "確か" is not a noun. It's an adjective. It just happens to require だ same as a noun. Note that you can't say 確かは or 確かを, except maybe as a "special effect" that's intentionally ungrammatical. – Matt Aug 26 '11 at 3:00
@Matt hm ok, initially I wanted to put the attention on the 特有は side and i used the 確かだ as "filler" but seems like the 確か side is getting the attention. – Pacerier Aug 26 '11 at 5:44
@sawa is there a way to form a grammatical sentence starting with 特有は (having 特有 as a "real-noun") ? – Pacerier Aug 26 '11 at 5:45
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If we are to follow how Japanese dictionaries classify them, we don't have to worry about the fact "not all na-type adjectives can be used as real nouns". The Japanese dictionary lists 健康 as both 名詞 (noun) and 形容動詞 (na-adjective) so that's why it can be used as a noun. On the other hand, 確か is not listed as noun, therefore it cannot be used as a noun. One more example is きれい.

Previously I used dic.yahoo.co.jp or dictionary.goo.ne.jp. Now maybe I recommend Weblio. It also has bidirectional English-Japanese dictionary (other screenshot). The Sanseid entry for たしか in Weblio

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This is the problem I have because the only dictionary I have is WWWJDIC and it often has errors in this regards. I was wondering which dictionary do you use? – Pacerier Sep 29 '11 at 22:31
@Pacerier okay, answer updated – syockit Oct 3 '11 at 3:29
cool I wasn't aware of this thanks =) – Pacerier Oct 3 '11 at 11:29

Is there even 1 na-type adjective that can't be used as a real noun as shown in (b) (to prove that passage right) ? : Yes. 確かに一つの答えは確かだ。

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btw is there a special term for these nouns? – Pacerier Aug 26 '11 at 6:09
Yes. You can find it here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_grammar – rdb Aug 26 '11 at 6:35
ok thx for the link =D btw i'm still not sure what is the special class of 形容動詞 that can be used as real nouns called. we couldn't call 健康 a 名詞 could we? – Pacerier Aug 26 '11 at 17:57
I'm not a grammarian, so I can't say with any confidence. I suppose it depends on how it functions grammatically in a particular case. I think you're getting a little too hung up on these classifications, though. The real point is to learn the meanings and usages. If the grammar terms help, then use them. If they don't, ignore them. As syokit says, you can check the dictionary to see if a particular 形容動詞 can also function as an independent noun. There's no automatic formula that will tell you which can and which can't. You just have to learn them by rote. – rdb Aug 26 '11 at 19:11
ok thx for the help =) – Pacerier Aug 26 '11 at 19:54

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