According to the "Oxford Japanese Grammar & Verbs" book, "There are some words which end in い even though they are な adjectives, not い adjectives. Such words all end in -ei.".

But what about 嫌い? It ends with い (not -ei) but it's still a な adjective, right?

It just doesn't really make sense to me but maybe I'm misunderstanding something.

  • 2
    Is it possible to include a picture of the page? That seems like a really strange thing to say.
    – Leebo
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:08
  • I don't know how to do that and if it is legal to include pictures of the book. I'm sorry :/
    – user43690
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:23
  • Okay... Well, I went and found it and yeah, very strange. As you noted, it's easy to think of many な adjectives that end in い but not in -ei.
    – Leebo
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:35
  • I'm glad you found it somehow :) Yes, it's so strange but I thought that maybe there is some explanation to it.
    – user43690
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:40
  • 1
    In the い adjective section they mention that no い adjectives end in -ei, and it is true that some of the most common な adjectives that end in い end in -ei. So presumably they were trying to make it possible for people to make the distinction, but it clearly wasn't thought through at all.
    – Leebo
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


In "Oxford Japanese Grammar and Verbs" at page 100 they say:

な adjectives which end in い
There are some words which end in い even though they are な adjectives, not い adjectives. Such words all end in -ei. The most common are:
きれい(な)・綺麗(な) pretty, clean, tidy
しつれい(な)・失礼(な) rude
ゆうめい(な)・有名(な) famous

I think this (=saying "Such words all end in -ei.") is wrong.
Not all な- adjectives that end in ~い(な) end in "-ei". We have:

[意外]{いがい}な(-ai)、[優位]{ゆうい}な(-ui)、[不快]{ふかい}な(-ai)、[得意]{とくい}な(-ui)、[詳細]{しょうさい}な(-ai)、[純粋]{じゅんすい}な(-ui)、[偉大]{いだい}な(-ai)、[巨大]{きょだい}な(-ai)、[容易]{ようい}な(-ui)、[多彩]{たさい}な(-ai)、[平易]{へいい}な(-ii)、[奇異]{きい}な(-ii)、[簡易]{かんい}な(-n'i)、[不揃]{ふぞろ}いな(-oi), etc...

  • Thank you :) that's actually very helpful. Like @Leebo wrote before "But yes, the 'rule' isn't a rule.". I think both of you are right but I wonder how Oxford University can make a mistake like that. It's a whole sentence "Such words all end in -ei.". Even if you remove the "all", it would still mean that all words end with -ei, because it says "Such words", which refers to な adjectives with い.
    – user43690
    Apr 24, 2021 at 17:28

「きれい」 and 「嫌い」are 2 most common な adjectives that ends with い so they are exceptions from the rule.

I recommend checking this website http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/adjectives for grammar reference as it's written pretty clearly and does not overcomplicate things.

  • 1
    きれい would be in line with the book's proposed -ei rule, so that one wouldn't be an exception to it. But yes, the "rule" isn't a rule.
    – Leebo
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:48
  • 1
    Thank you :) but it says "Such words all end in -ei.". It says "all".
    – user43690
    Apr 24, 2021 at 16:50

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