How does your Japanese compare? If you want it to stack up, you need to know how to make comparisons and talk about what is “the best” or “the most.” Think about the popular saying, “Love is the most important thing of all.” Without being able to make comparisons in English, you wouldn’t be able to say this. Once you learn how to say that something is “the most” in Japanese, you’ll use it all the time! This Beginner Japanese article introduces you to superlative sentences that compare quantity or quality. You’ll also master Ichiban (“first, number one”) to talk about what is “the best” or “the most.” As a bonus, pick up all sorts of popular vocabulary words and phrases you can use to ask about people’s physical conditions. This is one Japanese article you’ll be glad you read!

Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

byooshitsu – “hospital room”

gooshitsu – “suffix for room numbers”

erebeetaa – “elevator, lift”

ni-kai – “second floor”

agaru – “to rise, to go up” (class 1 verb)

oku – “inner part”

taichoo – “physical condition”

o-jii-chan – “grandfather”

booi furendo – “boyfriend”

tsuyoi – “strong, powerful” (-i ending adjective)

ai – “love”

daiji – “important, valuable” (-na ending adjective)

kankei – “relation, connection”

shiawase – “happiness”

taisetsu – “important, valuable” (-na ending adjective)

washi – “I, me” (used by elderly)

Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Useful Vocabulary and Phrases:

taichoo “physical condition”

In the previous article, we introduced the similar word kibun (“feeling”).

For Example:

How are you feeling?

  1. Formal Speech: Taichoo wa doo desu ka. Kibun wa doo desu ka.
  2. Informal Speech: Taichoo wa doo? Kibun wa doo?

Please note that both taichoo wa doo desu ka and kibun wa doo desu ka are questions we use to ask a person who is sick or has been sick about his or her physical condition.

daiji taisetsu

Both are -na ending adjectives that mean “important.” We can use them interchangeably in most cases.

For Example:

“Love is the most important thing.”

  1. Ai ga ichiban daiji da.
  2. Ai ga ichiban taisetsu da.

kankei nai

Kankei means “relation,” so kankei nai literally means “no relation” or “not related.” This phrase can be translated as “having nothing to do with something” or “none of one’s business.” In a formal situation, we use kankei arimasen ( or kankei nai desu).

Today’s Target Phrase

(Watashi wa) supootsu no naka de bokushingu ga ichiban suki desu.

“I like boxing the most of all the sports.”

The focus of this lesson is superlative sentences, which compare the quantity or quality of three or more objects.

Sentence Structure

[The group] no naka de [A] ga ichiban [adjective] desu.

[A] is the most [adjective] in [the group]. Ichiban literally means “the first” or “number one,” which is equivalent to the English “the most” in superlative sentences.

  1. [The group] + no naka de / [A] + ga ichiban / [Adjective] + desu.
    Ichinen no naka de / hachi-gatsu ga ichiban / atsui desu.
    Supootsu no naka de / sunooboodo ga ichiban / suki desu.
    San-nin no naka de / Tanaka-san ga ichiban / se ga takai desu.
    Konbini to suupaa to depaato no naka de / suupaa ga ichiban / yasui desu.
    Basu to kuruma to densha no naka de / densha ga ichiban / benri desu.
    Abe-san to Fukuda-san to Asoo-san no naka de
    / Abe-san ga ichiban / wakai desu.

More Definitions:

  1. ichi-nen “a year”
  2. san-nin “three people”
  3. konbini “convenience store”
  4. suupaa “supermarket”
  5. depaato “department store”
  6. yasui “cheap”
  7. wakai “young”

Practice 1:

Please create affirmative sentences using the provided vocabulary.

For Example:

supootsu tenisu omoshiroi ( omoshiroi means “interesting”)

Supootsu no naka de tenisu ga ichiban omoshiroi desu.

  1. ichi, nenni, gatsusamui ( samui means “cold”)
  2. supootsu, gorufu, tokui (tokui means “good at”)
  3. Tokyo to Osaka to Kyoto, Tokyo, ookii

Practice 2:

Please answer the following questions

  1. Supootsu no naka de nani ga ichiban omoshiroi desu ka. _
  2. Ichi-nen no naka de nan-gatsu ga ichiban suki desu ka. _
  3. Nihon no tabemono no naka de nani ga ichiban oishii desu ka. _


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