I couldn't shake off this question for a while now. I've seen some example sentences from WordNet for 標準 such as:

  • 標準手続き。
  • 非標準テキスト。
  • 標準室温でワインを出す。

All these sentences effectively present 標準 as an adjective, without any particle after. What confuses me is that I couldn't find 「標準手続き」, nor 「標準テキスト」, nor 「標準室温」 in any dictionary that I looked in, and all present 標準 just as a noun. Not a prefix, nor adjective, nor anything else, nothing.

What am I missing here?

  • 2
    Nouns working like adjectives can be seen in English too. For example, in "university textbook", university is still a noun but modifies textbook. See also Why isn't 日本料理 written as 日本の料理?
    – sundowner
    Commented Feb 11 at 23:19
  • 1
    It's not limited to this particular word. It's a common characteristic of words of Chinese origin (or Chinese formation). They are pretty productive when it comes to forming compound words.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 12 at 5:49

2 Answers 2


Unlike English "standard" which works both as an adjective and a noun, 標準 is basically just a noun. This means you usually need some particle or a suffix to make it modify a noun. In the case of 標準, it's either 的な or の:

  • 標準的な価格
    standard price
  • 標準の価格
    standard price

However, both in English and Japanese, two nouns can be directly combined to form a compound with a unique concept. In English, you have countless noun-noun compounds, including "hair spray", "machine learning", "computer virus" and "Hollywood movie". The corresponding Japanese terms are ヘアスプレー, 機械学習, コンピュータウイルス and ハリウッド映画.

Likewise, even though 標準 is a noun, we can say:

  • 標準価格
    standard price

標準手続き, 標準室温, 標準偏差 (standard deviation) and so on are the same. They are noun-noun compounds that refer to some fixed idea.

This does not mean you should omit 的な or の all the time. Directly connecting 標準 with some noun will give the impression that it is a predefined idea at least in your industry/workplace. If you simply want to say "ordinary/normal X", you should say 標準的なX. For example:

  1. 日本の標準的な車はABCです。
  2. 日本の標準車はABCです。

Sentence 1 just means ABC is a car that is very commonly seen in Japan, whereas Sentence 2 sounds as if ABC is officially established by the government as the "standard car".

For similar examples, please read: the omission of an implied "の" creates the appearance of a 四字熟語{よじじゅくご}?


標準 is often used as a prefix or adjectivally depending on how you want to look at it.

The standard language (as in standard Japanese) is 標準語.

Nelson's and my 和英辞典 list a number of other examples that regularly occur,

  • 標準化 to standardize
  • 標準時 standard time
  • 標準偏差 standard deviation (as in statistics)

In your examples, it works the same way:

  • 標準手続き a standard procedure
  • 非標準テキスト a non-standard text
  • 標準室温 standard room temperature, which I think given the rest of the context I would just translate as "put the wine out at room temperature".

Other examples that might be a bit less intuitive

  • 標準以上/以下 above/below average=substandard
  • 標準的 average
  • I would just like to note that 室温 alone is probably best translated to ambient temperature instead. English is annoying...
    – user52004
    Commented Feb 12 at 3:32
  • @shinku LOL. Good point. I think room temperature is generally understood to be something comfortable for a human without a lot of layers. Ambient could perhaps be just about any temperature, which could be either very warm or super cold, like in a cabin in the woods where no one inhabits it for months at a time. So, my understanding is that by 標準室温 the reference is what in everyday English we call "room temperature".
    – A.Ellett
    Commented Feb 12 at 3:43
  • I wouldn't say 室温 referring to the temperature in a cabin in the woods in winter. So it seems 室温 does corresponds to "room temperature" even without 標準. Neither language is particularly annoying here.
    – aguijonazo
    Commented Feb 12 at 6:02

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