In the question What's the difference between wa (は) and ga (が)?, the answerer mentioned these adjectives in their explanation of exhaustive-listing が and neutral description が.

For predicates with stative verbs or adjectives/nominal-adjectives of permanent states, が can only be interpreted as exhaustive-listing.

but neutral description only works with action verbs, existential verbs, and adjectives/nominal adjectives that represent state change.

As an example, say someone noticed that the sea is beautiful and said, 「海がきれい」. Since the speaker just noticed that the sea is beautiful, this falls under the neutral descriptive meaning of が. But where is the "state change" that the adjective きれい represents?

1 Answer 1


中上級を教える人のための日本語文法ハンドブック lists the following sentence as an example of neutral description (中立叙述) with が and an adjective.

(2) (登山で山頂に着いたとき)あー、空気がうまい。

The explanations are as follows.


(7) あっ、バスが来た。


(9) (真冬に外に出た瞬間)風が冷たい。

Your example of 海がきれい falls in the same category. きれい itself must be an “adjective of permanent states,” and therefore, is indeed usually used with は, as in 花子はきれいだ.

I don’t know what adjectives truly qualify as “adjectives that represent state change.” This definition seems misleading. The only explanation I can come up with that uses the term "state change" is something like the きれい in 海がきれい reflects a "state change" that has happened in the speaker’s mind, unlike in 花子はきれいだ.

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