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For よう, why do we prepend な for Na-adjectives, and の for regular nouns? Is there a logical understanding behind this from like a Japanese perspective? I feel as though since they're both technically nouns, then we should treat them the same.

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    Your question is unclear -- when you say, "they're both technically nouns", what does "both" refer to here? Dec 3, 2021 at 19:52
  • Separately, please understand that particles in Japanese do not prepend anything -- particles are added after the word or phrase that they mark. Dec 3, 2021 at 19:53
  • By both, I mean Na-adjectives and Nouns are both technically nouns. So why do we use a na for one and no for the rest?
    – Catdog
    Dec 3, 2021 at 20:16
  • Ah, no, -na adjectives are not technically nouns. Some of the -na adjectives are also nouns, but as a general class of words, -na adjectives are not nouns. This question and answer discusses this a bit, with examples of two -na adjectives that cannot be used as nouns, and one -na adjective that can also be used as a noun. Dec 3, 2021 at 20:17
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    It seems like the question reduces to why are some words na adjectives and others nouns.
    – Casey
    Dec 3, 2021 at 20:55

1 Answer 1

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よう is basically a na-adjective which can also behave as a noun.

Note that not all na-adjectives can be used as nouns, but some can. That's why they fall under the category of adjectival nouns: no-adjectives and na-adjectives, using の and な respectively.


よう as a noun

After nouns + no:

  • 彼は留守のようでした。

After adjectival nouns + na/no in the non-past affirmative context:

  • 彼は大丈夫なようです。 大丈夫 is a na-adjective, which is modifying よう, a noun.
  • 彼は病気のようだ。病気 is a no-adjective, which is modifying よう, a noun.

After adjectival nouns or nouns + じゃない, だった or じゃなかった in the past context:

  • 彼は練習がだったようです。The clause 彼は練習が嫌だった modifies よう, a noun.

よう as a na-adjective

Once よう has been modified, this noun can also modify another noun. To do this, な is used.

  • この間食べたようなケーキだよ。この間食べた modifies よう, and よう modifies ケーキ by using な.

Just like a na-adjective, it can be followed by に to form an adverb.

  • 彼女はまるで魚のように速く泳げます。魚 modifies よう, and ように creates an adverb to modify 速く泳げます.

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