According to the dictionary, it's supposed to be a na-adjective, but it seems to be used somewhat commonly without the な particle, e.g.

  • 遥か彼方
  • 遥か氷原の彼方
  • 遥か群衆を離れて

I think I've seen a few more variations but can't recall them at the moment. What's going on here? Is it an exception or there is some rule I'm not aware of?

  • There's some discussion in Martin's Reference Grammar of Japanese (1975) on p.792.
    – user1478
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Two monolingual dictionaries available online say 遥か can be used adverbially as well as adjectivally.

Similar words include 結構, 色々, 十分, 大変, かなり, 相当, and 特別. As you can see, most of these are intensifiers.

  • 大変な事件。 (na-adj.) / 大変おいしい。 (adv.)
  • 特別なプレゼント。 (na-adj.) / 今日は特別寒い。 (adv.)

I think similar things happen commonly also in English ("fast", "long", "enough", etc. can work adverbially without "-ly").

EDIT: 彼方 itself works both as a na-adjective and a noun, so it can be modified both by an adverb and a normal adjecitive. 遥か彼方, 遙かな彼方, 遠い彼方, 遠く彼方, とても彼方 are all valid. The same thing can be said for 昔, which can be modified both by an adverb and an adjective (遥か昔, 遙かな昔, かなり昔, かなりな昔, 遠い昔, とても昔, ...)

  • Does this mean that the に is just being dropped for these words?
    – sazarando
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 0:59
  • Hmm, it depends... I don't hear 結構に or かなりに at all. に in 大変に, 特別に, 十分に are purely optional. に in 色々に, 遥かに, 相当に are usually dropped but it's still okay to add に: 遥か(に)群衆を離れて, 色々(に)考える, 相当(に)強い敵
    – naruto
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 1:11
  • could this (intensifier) be the reason why すごい is also often left uninflected? Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 13:49

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