Both mean happy. 嬉しい is an i-adjective, and 幸せ is a na-adjective. If I want to say, "The happy boy studied at the library", which one should I use? The boy in the sentence is feeling happy at the moment.




  • 4
    Neither of your sentences sounds right... Do you mean (you think/the boy thought/the boy felt) he was (happy/lucky/in good circumstance) (because/irrelevant to) that he could study there? Jan 27, 2016 at 21:10

2 Answers 2


嬉しい nowadays is mostly used to express your happiness during a certain moment or time, and it's usually brief periods of joy and related to a close event(either by speech or by time). For example, if you just got a package you waited for, you'll be 嬉しい. If you passed your test, you're going to be 嬉しい.

幸せ(な) is used to express long-term joy, or put more simply, happiness. For example, if you're describing a happy family, you can say 幸せな家族. It has the general meaning of happiness while 嬉しい is for the immediate meaning of joy derived from a certain moment or event.

  • うちは幸せな結婚生活ですよ。
  • それは嬉しいことですね。

His marriage is filled with しあわせ, and he's うれしい about it.

  • 4
    「 は幸せな結婚生活ですよ。」 does not sound very natural. 「うち」 would be a far more common word choice here.
    – user4032
    Jan 28, 2016 at 1:09

I think 嬉しい男の子 is unnatural. 嬉しい is rarely used in modifying nouns. If you use it as a modifier, it should be 嬉しそうな.

I think 幸せな男の子が図書館で勉強しました is no problem, but if a third person describes another person's emotion or condition, attaching そうな to them is better. 

You must log in to answer this question.

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