If I use an adjective to directly modify a noun how exactly would I conjugate it into the negative form?

For example

これは おおきい やま です。 -> This mountain is large

If I wanted to say "This mountain is not large" could I say

これは おおきくない やま です or これは おおきくありません やま です

or do those two examples above sound unnatural relative to something like

この やま は おおきくない or この やま は おおきくありません


1 Answer 1


You can say これは大{おお}きくない山{やま}です; it is perfectly natural.

However, you can't say これは大{おお}きくありません山{やま}です.

The reason behind this is that polite 〜ます forms don't have a 連体形{れんたいけい}, or in more English terms, polite things can't modify nouns.

For example, you can say 食{た}べる人{ひと} to mean "a person who is eating". However, you can't say 食{た}べます人{ひと} to mean the same things, since polite forms don't work when modifying nouns. Similarly, you say 大{おお}きい山{やま}, not 大{おお}きいです山{やま}, and 大{おお}きくない山{やま} rather than 大{おお}きくありません山{やま}.

  • 2
    Since when is これは大きくない山です perfectly natural?? It is grammatical but it sounds quite unnatural.
    – user4032
    Jan 1, 2014 at 22:56
  • 2
    I am not a native speaker, I should add. I'm just commenting that it is grammatical; the only reason why it is unnatural is the existence of 小さい.
    – ithisa
    Jan 1, 2014 at 23:40

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