Photos of JapanNihongo o Narau

Lesson 21: I like peaches.
Click here for the kana version.

This lesson introduces how to express your likes and dislikes in Japanese. This can be a little tricky as the grammar is different from English in this case. In English, one might say: 'I like peaches.' Here like is a verb. In Japanese, an adjective is used instead. For now, it's better to just memorize the pattern for like/dislike sentences.

First, some vocabulary:

liking/fondness - suki (usually pronounced as ski)
dislike/hate - kirai

Again, these two words are not verbs. They are both na adjectives. In English, people don't usually say "I have a fondness for peaches," but this is how it is said in Japanese.

The pattern for like/dislike sentences is as follows:

(Watashi wa) ~ ga suki desu.
I like ~.
(Watashi wa) ~ ga kirai desu.
I hate ~.


Watashi wa ringo ga suki desu.
I like apples.
Momo ga suki desu.
I like peaches.
Watashi wa remon ga kirai desu. I hate lemons.
Suika ga kirai desu. I hate watermelon.

Of course, you can change the topic or the desu at the end of the sentence as usual.


Watashi wa momo ga suki janai desu.
I don't like peaches.
Banana ga suki janai desu. I don't like bananas.
Suika ga suki dewa arimasen. I don't like watermelon.
Watashi wa kare ga suki deshita. I liked him.
Kare ga kirai janai desu. I don't hate him.
Momo ga kirai dewa arimasen deshita. I didn't hate peaches.
(Anata wa) ringo ga suki desu ka. Do you like apples?
Kono neko wa inu ga kirai desu. This cat hates dogs.

Please note that when you say you like a person in Japanese it has strong connotations that you are interested in the person romantically, so it should not be used lightly until you are more familiar with the language.

Saying that you don't like something, or that you hate something can be a little harsh, so you may wish to add the modifier amari, which, means "very much." (Amari is mostly used this way in negative sentences.) It gives the sentences a connotation of "I don't really like ~."


Watashi wa suika ga amari suki janai desu.
I don't like watermelons very much.
Banana ga amari suki dewa arimasen. I don't like bananas very much.

Here, we would like to introduce a new form of the word desu. Recall that the negative forms of desu are dewa arimasen and janai desu.  Either form means the same thing, but dewa arimasen is more formal.  The past tense form is deshita. The only negative past form introduced so far has been dewa arimasen deshita, but that can be quite a mouthful. Also note that you cannot say "janai deshita." The truth is that the nai part of janai is just like the the nai found in i adjectives. So, to make the negative past form you change the nai to nakatta. Thus, it becomes janakatta or janakatta desu. Adding the desu makes the phrase slightly more formal.


Watashi wa momo ga suki desu.
I like peaches.
Watashi wa momo ga suki janakatta desu. I didn't like peaches.
Sore wa hon desu. That is a book.
Sore wa hon janakatta desu. That wasn't a book.


Lesson 21 Vocabulary:

suki like
kirai hate
amari very much
ga particle marking the object of like/dislike sentences
momo peach
banana banana
suika watermelon
remon lemon
kare him
janakatta negative past form of desu
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