Question regarding colors as nouns and adjectives

MC's Neechan
Asked 8 years ago

I was going through the color lesson, Double Rainbow I think, and am having a hard time trying to figure out the difference between color(adj)-noun and color(noun)-no-noun. A yellow (adj) pair of pants and pants that are yellow (noun) are interchangable, no? I don't get it.... I guess I don't understand how a color can be a noun, except for orange, because it is also a fruit.


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1 Answer



Basically, when the colors end in い, they are adjectives (い adjectives).  So in your question,

a yellow pair of pants can be said in two ways,

1) Yellow (Noun) + の(particle) + Pants = きいろ の ズボン

2) Yellow (い adjectives) + Pants = きいろい ズボン

All the colors can be nouns, but not all the colors can be adjectives.  Here are some examples,

オレンジ (いろ) (noun), you can't make an adjectives with this. オレンジい is WRONG.

In the same way, むらさき(いろ)(pruple) is a noun and CANNOT be an adjective. 

But, many other colors can be both noun and adjectives.  Making a noun from adjective is easy.  Just take い away. 

しろ (adjective) ⇒ しろ (noun)

あお (adjective) ⇒ あお (noun)

あか (adjective) ⇒ あか (noun)

I hope this helps,

Answered 8 years ago

I understand the mechanics of the construction, but I'm confused about the distinction between the two. For example, aka no suka-to and akai suka-to are basically the same thing, correct? I understand that first one is a noun/possessive particle/noun and the second one is adjective/noun, but at the end of the day, isn't it just a red skirt? Is there more to it than that, like some sort of nuance in the meaning?

MC's Neechan
Commented 8 years ago

I don't see any difference between aka-no sukato and akai-sukato in the meaning. They both describe the same thing. But, noun+no+object can be confusing in some cases, and we naturally want to choose adjective+object. For example, you have a dog, and his name is Shiro (I'm not joking. Shiro is a common name for white dogs^^). If you say, "Shiro no zubon", it can mean both "white pants" and "Shiro's pants"!

Commented 8 years ago

Ha! That's good to know! Thanks, that cleared it up for me. :)

MC's Neechan
Commented 8 years ago