How do I use an i-adjective and na-adjective together to describe a noun? For example, how do I say "beautiful, red torii"?

綺麗な鳥居 (na-adjective): beautiful torii
赤い鳥居 (i-adjective): red torii

2 Answers 2


I think you have the following options:

  1. 綺麗な赤い鳥居
    a beautiful [red torii]
    a [beautiful, red] torii

  2. 赤い綺麗な鳥居
    a red [beautiful torii] (a little strange)
    a [red, beautiful] torii

  3. 赤くて綺麗な鳥居
    a red and therefore beautiful torii

  4. 綺麗で赤い鳥居
    a [beautiful, red] torii
    a beautiful and therefore red torii

The combination of "red" and "beautiful" is a bit biased, because something can be beautiful because it is red, but not be red because it is beautiful (which would have to be 綺麗で赤い). This plays into the translation, so 綺麗で赤い could only sensibly mean that 綺麗 and 赤い are thought of as separate qualities.

Of course, 赤い is also special in that one can also say

  1. 赤で綺麗な鳥居

which I think would usually be taken as equivalent to (3), but could also mean (2).

  • Since で as in 5. 赤で綺麗な鳥居 is the te form of copula, this sentence means "a torii that is pretty because the color is red".
    – user4092
    Jan 29, 2016 at 8:14

You would place 綺麗 in te form before 赤い

Since 綺麗 is a na-adjactive you place it into te form by dropping the na (な) and replacing it with de (で).

This is basically like using commas to create a list in English, except it automatically has a properties of "and" included in it.

The final adjective in this chain doesn't require te form, but for reference i-adjectives are put into te for by dropping the i (い) and replacing it with kute (くて).

So your final sentence would be:


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