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I've heard that you don't have to use だ with いadjectives because it will be redundant since いadjectives already imply affirmation, then there is no need to use だ. And okay, i think i get it, but why… maybe the reason is just "they're affirmative" but why they're affirmative? maybe it's has a very technical answer or no, but yeah, im ok with that in case there is a "long answer" for that question.

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  • Can you explain what you mean by "いadjectives already imply affirmation"?
    – istrasci
    Mar 13 at 19:46
  • i think for example 親しい mean "friendly" but when someome says idk… "親しいだ/です" other says "its redundant because 親しい by itself its affirmative because its a いadjective and it means "its friendly, so だ/です its not needed." but yeah, i have this answer, "i adjectives are already affirmative, so they dont need to use だ/です". my question here is why いadjectives imply affirmation in case they do, and why not use だ/です with いadjectives. Mar 13 at 20:29
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    Does this answer your question? Why can't だ be used after an I-adjective? Mar 13 at 22:19
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    It's simplest to think Japanese i-adjectives are syntactically more like verbs. English speakers also sometimes use verbs to describe the quality of something (eg "It sucks", "It rocks"), in which case "is" is not necessary.
    – naruto
    Mar 14 at 1:24

1 Answer 1

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In case this isn't considered a duplicate...

I don't know where you heard that or what the other person meant, but it isn't correct terminology. However, yes, there is a real idea here.

When we say "い-adjective", this is an approximation using Western grammatical terms that were designed to describe European languages (including English). Depending on your definitions, Japanese has anywhere between zero and three categories of adjectives (plus a few irregular outliers)1.

The main thing you need to know about い-adjectives - as they're called natively, [形容詞]{けいようし} - is that they grammatically function mostly like verbs that are always intransitive and inflect a bit differently. In particular, they can swap in for the "main verb". (The same idea applies the other way around; verbs get used descriptively like [歩]{ある}く[人]{ひと} "a person who walks".)

In the Japanese model, that "main verb" could be a [動詞]{どうし} (what you would normally call a verb), 形容詞, or a noun + だ. The latter combination is treated as a verb-like unit - in これは猫だ, the 猫 is not any kind of object or subjective completion, which is why you don't need another particle. It's just part of 猫だ, the verb "to be a cat".

Similarly, a 形容詞 by itself already has a verb function: これは[赤]{あか}い is already complete, "this is-red". Adding だ directly is actually grammatically incorrect, in the same way that English "this is is red" would be grammatically incorrect.

You may have seen です after 形容詞, like これは赤いです. This was (to my understanding) not always considered grammatical, but in contemporary Japanese, this です has become purely a politeness marker - a way to inflect the adjective for politeness. (Following regular rules of grammatical construction, it would be 赤くます, but we don't actually say this.) This is a special case because です is weird, and it does create additional irregularities, e.g. Why is 高いです acceptable but 高いではあります not acceptable?, い-Adjective Conjugation: かったです vs でした.

1 With respect to the top-rated answer there, by "irregular outliers" I mean the 連体詞, since there are so few of them that I find it hard to call them a separate class. I can count three categories beside that, by splitting 形容動詞 into the ones connected with の and those connected with な. Although a few can actually use both; but here I consider that it's the combination of the noun and the particle which forms 形容動詞 - or rather, the noun is just a "stem" of this form. (There might be a better reference Q&A for that, but that's the best I could find.)

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  • In the last paragraph preceding the footnote, a better hypothetical form constructed according to grammatical parallelism might be ?赤くあります compared to ×赤くます by analogy with ○赤くありません/○赤くないです. A similar phenomenon occurs with ○赤かったです instead of the expected ?赤くありました by grammatical analogy. (See 〜く+あります inflections?)
    – L. F.
    Mar 14 at 4:44
  • @L.F. How do you type ×/○ without copy/paste, btw? But I chose that form because it mirrors the logic used with verbs: ます-stem (i.e. 連用形) plus ます. Mar 14 at 20:31
  • type "まる" in japenese keyboard ○ Mar 15 at 16:47
  • @KarlKnechtel As JeisonAlive wrote, many Japanese IMEs accept まる for ○ and ばつ for ×.
    – L. F.
    Mar 15 at 22:45

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