I was browsing fairly random old questions to see if I could learn a few little things ( I could) and stumbled across this one-

The topic is the restaurant, or the conversation is at the restaurant?

I understand the main thrust of the question OK. That's not my problem here. Where I am slightly puzzled however is in the く after 新し.


I realise this is an idiotic question however I am very very bad at grammar. Even with English it is only after I spent a few months teaching the stuff that I learned what simple things like nouns and verbs are. I want to get from the stage of reading and understanding towards understanding every little thing in a sentence however.

I understand this く is something to do with 新しい being a い adjective? But...thinking about it I can only recall 新しくない as a reason for a く to interlude. But that clearly isn't the case here.

Why is this く necessary? Why would 新しいできた not do?


1 Answer 1


Adding the く to an i-adjective in this particular usage makes it function as an adverb so that you can use 新しい to modify できる. 新しく出来た means "newly completed."

Other examples might be 速く走る、遅く起きる、赤くなる, etc. With na-adjectives you would add に to it instead of く, like 綺麗に書く or 丁寧に切る.

Note that 新しく and its ilk are not what would be referred to as 副詞 in Japanese, which is the usual translation for an adverb. Using the く is a particular way of inflecting an adjective to make it function like an "adverb" in the sense that it modifies the following verb. It should also be noted that this form does not have to be used as an adverb. It can also be used as a form similar to the て form of a verb, for example.

  • 1
    「新しく」 is NOT an adverb. It is the 連用形 form of an adjective, meaning that it is still an adjective in Japanese. It does not matter if it modies a verb.
    – user4032
    Mar 12, 2014 at 1:26
  • 2
    @TokyoNagoya, umm. I think it's just a matter of terminology. According to my observation, apart form a few usages, (such as くなる/く見える/くない, much like copulas), not all adjectives can be regularly used as adverbs, and when they are used as adverbs, the meaning is often subtly altered.
    – Yang Muye
    Mar 12, 2014 at 1:30
  • 3
    If it modifies a verb then isn't that the definition of an adverb? And I'm seriously asking this because if I'm wrong I'd like to know. Doesn't the 連用形 often function as an adverb?
    – ssb
    Mar 12, 2014 at 1:43
  • 3
    @TokyoNagoya Did you mean to say "「新しく」 is NOT a 副詞."? I think ssb was trying to explain the semantics by saying "adverb", not trying to discuss word classifications. Mar 12, 2014 at 1:43
  • 4
    新しく is definitely used adverbially here, although you can argue that it isn't always, e.g. 家は新しく、車は古い. Whether 新しく can be an adverb or not is really a silly discussion, since it all depends on whether you classify it as its POS (part of speech) or classify it with its root lexeme. I think TokyoNagoya's point is that "new" and "newly" are 2 different words (lexemes), but 新しい and 新しい are the same lexeme. Again, this is just a matter of definitions. "-ly" in English is very productive (i.e. regular), but not quite as much as "-く".
    – dainichi
    Mar 12, 2014 at 5:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .