Wild Nihongo!
~にくい

~にくい

~にくい Japanese Grammar Lesson

Grammar Type: Auxiliary Adjective

Essential Meaning: Hard to / Difficult to / Not readily

Construction: 

  • Verb ます-Form + にくい
    • E.g. べにくい [Difficult to eat]
    • E.g. はなしにくい [Difficult to speak]

Notes:

  • ~にくい is an auxiliary adjective that means “Difficult to” or “Hard to”. にくい functions grammatically identically to other い-Adjectives.
  • The antonym of ~にくい is ~やすい.
    • E.g. 寿司すしべやすいです。[Sushi is easy to eat.]
    • E.g. 寿司すしべにくいです。[Sushi is difficult to eat.]
  • The subject of a ~にくい expression may be:
    • (1) The subject of an intransitive verb
      • E.g. このドアがひらきにくいですね。[This door does not open easily, does it?] ドア is the subject of the intransitive verb ひらく [To open].
    • (2) The direct object of a transitive verb
      • E.g. あのひと名前なまえおぼえにくい。[That person’s name is difficult to remember.] あのひと名前なまえ is the direct object of the transitive verb おぼえる [To remember].
    • (3) The indirect object of a transitive verb
      • E.g. あの先生せんせいはなしにくいです。[That teacher is difficult to talk to.] あの先生せんせい is the indirect object of the transitive verb はなす [To speak].
    • (4) A Noun + Particle. This corresponds to an English prepositional phrase such as “With X” or “To X“, as in “It is difficult to do Y with X” or “It is difficult to do Y to X.” Note that the particle may be optionally dropped.
      • E.g. このくつでははしりにくいです。[It is difficult to walk with these shoes on.] くつ is the noun and is the particle.
      • E.g. あの先生せんせいにははなしにくいです。[That teacher is difficult to talk to.] あの先生せんせい is the noun and is the particle.
  • Because the structure Verb ます-Form + にくい essentially acts as an adjective to modify a noun, it is preceded by topic / subject markers or and is not directly preceded by other noun markers such as , , , and .

Example Sentences:

このほん大変たいへんみにくいです。[This book is very difficult to read.]

このドアがひらきにくいですね。[This door does not open easily, does it?]

あのひと名前なまえおぼえにくい。[That person’s name is difficult to remember.]

あの先生せんせいはなしにくいです。[That teacher is difficult to talk to.]

このくつでははしりにくいです。[It is difficult to walk with these shoes on.]

WILD Examples:

Listen to this line at 0:45: にゅうがん動脈硬化どうみゃくこうか骨粗鬆症こつそしょうしょうにはイソフラボノイド、骨粗鬆症こつそしょうしょうっていにくい [It has isoflavinoids to ward off breast cancer, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis. Speaking of osteoporosis, it’s difficult to pronounce!]
Listen to this line at 2:26: ちにくい口紅くちべになおきみだれ [You who re-reapplies your long-lasting (i.e. not easily fading) lipstick, who are you?]

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