Using them as descriptors, can they be interchanged?

E.g. 親切な人 vs 親切の人

Is の only acceptable if referring to a specific new person from a certain place that has been established earlier in the conversation?

  • 1
    – chocolate
    Dec 14, 2017 at 2:43
  • 1
    " 新設の人" <- You meant to write 親切の人 ?
    – chocolate
    Dec 14, 2017 at 2:55
  • shoryuu, it's hard to tell since you completely rewrote your question, but it sounds like your question may be more about how to modify the の pronoun with adjectives rather than about the difference between な and の adjectives. Maybe start a new question? To recap: It's never correct to say 親切の人.
    – mamster
    Dec 14, 2017 at 16:26

2 Answers 2


Both 新しいな車 and 新しいの車 are ungrammatical. 新しい is an い-adjective, and there is no interceding particle when い adjectives precede a noun.

な adjectives (e.g., 静か、変) require な when they precede a noun. 静かな部屋, not 静か部屋.

焔 is not an adjective; it's a noun. The particle の is used between nouns, even when a noun is being used in a descriptive sense. There's some overlap between な adjectives and nouns in Japanese, but in this case, 焔な扉 would definitely be incorrect. You can get a hint of how this sounds wrong by looking at how you translated the phrase: "door of flames". "Flames" is clearly a noun in this translation, as it is in the original. "Flames door" sounds odd to me in a similar way to 焔な扉.

You can definitely find song titles with な adjectives in them; I just searched my local karaoke box for songs with きれいな in the title and got plenty of results, such as Pizzicato Five's 君みたいにきれいな女の子.

Here's a lot more on Japanese adjectives from Tae Kim's guide.

  • Yeah I realised I put ii adjective and a noun as an example wrongly and my song title was a bad example but still, the question is about na- adjectives using No or Na, which you did not cover. Thanks for the link though I actually do know more than what my mistakes might suggest.
    – shoryuu
    Dec 13, 2017 at 18:05

I think you need to review the basics of Japanese adjectives. 新しい is an i-adjective, which means it requires neither な nor の. You always have to say 新しい車. Saying 新しいの車 or 新しいな車 is just plain wrong.

For na-adjectives, you always have to use な to directly modify a noun attributively. Using の instead is just plain wrong. As an exception, a few adjectives can take both な and の almost interchangeably, for example あいにく, but the number of such adjectives is smaller than you might think.

焔な扉 is just plain wrong because 焔 is not an adjective but a noun. の is a particle that links two nouns similarly to English "of" as in "door of flame". Some nouns are often referred to as no-adjectives because they are typically translated into English using adjectives. Anyway, you need memorize the word class of each word, and use な or の properly.

  • 新しいの車 is acceptable, is it not, if a particular car was already established earlier in the conversation? Likewise with 新設の人? So apart from these 2 you are saying there is no proper usage for の with adjectives other than dual ones like あいにく? Pretty sure I have heard some common ones being used with の before. Of course な is still used in the vast majority of -na adjectives. Was just wondering if it was a simple preference in the situation where it could be interchanged.
    – shoryuu
    Dec 13, 2017 at 18:14
  • 新しいの (without the noun) is acceptable if の is acting as a pronoun referring back to a previously mentioned car. 新しいの車 is incorrect. When you wrote 新設の人, did you mean 親切な人? 「新設の人」is not ungrammatical but doesn't really make sense. Assuming you meant 親切, again, that's a な adjective.
    – mamster
    Dec 13, 2017 at 18:18
  • @shoryuu 新しいの車 and 親切の人 are always incorrect, 100% of the time, regardless of the previous context, simply because 新しい is an i-adjective and 親切 is a na-adjective. And did you read the link about so-called "no-adjectives"?
    – naruto
    Dec 13, 2017 at 18:19
  • @naruto So if we use the (noun-)adjective 無垢 for example, could we say both: 無垢な女 and 無垢の女? I've always wondered if in these cases there was a rule to decide which one to use.
    – Ushiromiya
    Dec 14, 2017 at 8:35
  • Ushiromiya, in the case of adjectives that can take な or の, it's probably best to start by just googling to see which is more common.
    – mamster
    Dec 14, 2017 at 16:25

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