Everything I have known about Japanese grammar structure till now is S-O-V. Japanese is S-O-V language. But what's about adj? Adverb?... Something like that. Of couse that I did some research about this. But all I found is this:

Sentence Topic, Time, Location, Subject, Indirect Object, Direct Object, Verb. [Source]

But I understand nothing at all. I mean it isn't answer my question: the order of adj, adverb... Is it standing before noun or after, what happen if I got 2 adj... Do you guys know it? Please teach me about it. It terribly confuses me.

And thank you for reading my... query?

  • You might be interested in this question as well: Sentence structure/element order
    – blutorange
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 21:37
  • Well, I had read it before I created this thread. But I still confuse because it hard to understand and not essential enough. Thank you, anyway.
    – Star Light
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


Adjectives (and relative clauses for that matter) are always before the noun they modify. I don't know if there are rules for the ordering of adjective groups. Maybe Wikipedia can tell you more.

As for the I understand nothing at all part:

  • Wikipedia can help you on "sentence topic";
  • "time" refers to time expressions such as "three hours ago", "yesterday", "in a week" etc.;
  • "location" means an expression indicating the place where an action takes place, such as "here", "in a church", "near the riverbank", "underneath a tree" etc.;
  • "Subject" is the subject, which is roughly the doer of the action, but there are exceptions, most notably the verb aru (~to have), where the subject is the topic and what is possesed is the subject; aru is lit. to exist, so As for (possessor), (possessed thing) exists is the idea behind it, reminding me of the Latin use of the dative in this case;
  • "Indirect object" is a second object some verbs have, e.g. "give", where it is the person you give something; and "direct object" is the "object" in SOV.
  • "Verb" is the sentence's verb.

I honestly didn't know place expressions were confined to before the subject; and time expressions as well. I'm rather inclined to think that this is flexible, and the only real rule is that the verb ends the sentence - for which, unfortunately, you can find exceptions in songs.

Also, I don't know whether to include complements of motion (from somewhere, to swhr., through swhr.) in "location" or not.

I will take look in the cited source and see what it says. Or maybe I'll just wait for comments here.

Update: the cited reference states that:

Japanese is flexible in terms of word-order due to use of particles. Sentences, however, generally have the following structure:

Sentence Topic, Time, Location, Subject, Indirect Object, Direct Object, Verb.

Also, it does not appear (most incredibly in my opinion) to have anything about the adjective-noun ordering in a location you'd expect to find it in. I might consider reporting this to the wikibooks community. Somebody definitely should.

  • It is indeed unbelievable that in a book on Japanese grammar such as the cited source there is nothing easily findable on this topic. It should be reported to Wikibooks.
    – MickG
    Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 20:01
  • Yes, I also know Japanese structure is flexible. But how flexible can it be? For example: 私は Tú です。 And: Tú は私です。 Is the same? Is that flexible? I'm sorry if my above question isn't clearly enough.
    – Star Light
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 19:20
  • No. 私は Tú です would translate to I am Tú, whereas Tú は私です would be Tú is me, for all I know. But then you put the on two different things in the two sentences, so you can't expect them to be the same. In general these phrases do not allow any permutation, for all I know, since the …です part cannot be split, and cannot be placed before the topic they mark.
    – MickG
    Commented Dec 17, 2014 at 19:44

You must log in to answer this question.

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