For example, I would like to say, "Please wash the white and blue plates." Meaning that there are white plates and blue plates to be washed. (Not plates that contain both the colors blue and white)

I know you could say 白い皿と青い皿, but is there a way to express the same idea without having to repeat the noun (in this case 皿) and not sound unnatural?

I wasn't sure if 白い皿と青い皿 could be expressed to something like 白いと青い皿。(Which doesn't look right to me)

My attempt:白いか青い皿を洗いなさい。(This still sounds kinda strange to me)

And to my understanding,

白い青い皿=Plates that are colored both white and blue

白くて青い皿=Same as above? Plates that are colored both white and blue? (I'm not sure if the くて gives a different meaning. I looked at this, but I'm still a little unsure.

1 Answer 1


白いと青い皿 is ungrammatical.

You can use くて to join two i-adjectives, and 白くて青い皿 means something like "a white blue plates", which is perhaps grammatical but a bit confusing. Anyway, it never means "blue plates and white plates" if you joined two i-adjectives like this.

白いか青い皿 is ungrammatical, but it's likely to be taken as the same as 白い、または青い皿 ("plates which are either blue or white").

I would suggest you say 白と青の皿 using the nouns to refer to colors. This is still ambiguous between "white-and-blue plates" and "white plates and blue plates", but at least can safely refer to the latter.

Wash white and blue plates. Forget red ones.

  • Why is 白いと青い皿 ungrammatical?
    – hisao m
    Oct 30, 2016 at 4:57
  • 1
    @hisaom Unlike English "and" which can join almost anything, Japanese と only works with nouns or noun-like phrases.
    – naruto
    Oct 30, 2016 at 5:37

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