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Aug 28, 2018

Tall and Short in Japanese


Hello. I'm Kosuke!


In this article, let's study how to say Tall and Short in Japanese!


In English, we can say "Tall" for both people and buildings.

In Japanese, they are a little different...


Below is the index of this article!





1. Summary table

Before discussing details of Tall and Short, let's check the overview regarding them!


Tall and Short:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
tall
(person)
せがたかいse ga ta ka i背が高い
tall
(object)
building
mountain
たかいta ka i高い
short
(person)
せがひくいse ga hi ku i背が低い
short
(object)
ひくいhi ku i低い

If you still don't remember Hiragana chart, please check this:

If you want to test your memory of Hiragana, please use this:

If you don't know what Romaji is, please check this:



Also, I will explain about other adjectives in this article!

I'll explain about the tables below:


High and Low:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
highたかいta ka i高い
lowひくいhi ku i低い

I will explain about High and Low below:



Long and Short:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
longながいna ga i長い
shortみじかいmi ji ka i短い

I will explain about Long and Short below:



They are all adjectives.

If you study Japanese, you will see many words where the last character is "い(i)", like "たかい(takai)", "ひくい(hikui)", "ながい(nagai)", and "みじかい(mijikai)".

In most cases, they are adjectives.

They are the words describing the status of nouns.

If you want to check other adjectives, please check these:

(You don't need to care about the name "adjective" so much here.)

In this article, we will study adjectives to describe the height of a noun.






Basically, "Tall" is "せがたかい(se ga takai)" in Japanese.

However, "せがたかい(se ga takai)" is an adjective used only for a person's stature.


If you want to say "tall building" or "tall mountain", just "たかい(takai)" is enough, instead of "せがたかい(se ga takai)".


EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
tall
(person)
せがたかいse ga ta ka i背が高い
tall
(object)
たかいta ka i高い


The phrase "せがたかい(se ga takai)" includes "たかい(takai)".


"せがたかい(se ga takai)" consists of "せ(se)", "が(ga)", and "たかい(takai)".


person's height,
(someone's) back

たかい high


If you don't know what "が" is, please check this:

Also, I will explain more about "たかい(takai)" in this article below:


So if we translate directly, the phrase "せがたかい(se ga takai)" means "Someone's height is high".

In Japanese, this is often used as "tall" for people.




Let's check the examples below!


1.
ta na ka sa n wa se ga ta ka i de su


     Meaning :  "Mr. Tanaka is tall."
     
たなか Tanaka
(person's name)
さん Mr., Ms.


If you want to know more about "さん(san)", please check this:

If you don't know why "は(wa)" makes the sound "wa" instead of "ha", please check this:

If you don't know what "です" is, please check this:


In this example, "せがたかい(se ga takai)" is used instead of "たかい(takai)" because たなかさん is a person.



2.
a no ta te mo no wa ta ka i de su


     Meaning :  "That building is tall."
     
あの that
たてもの building


In this example sentence, just "たかい(takai)" is used because the building is not a person.




Like the examples above, when we translate "tall" into Japanese, we need to care about whether it is a person or not.


If you speak about a tall person, "せがたかい(se ga takai)" should be used.

If you speak about other things, like buildings or mountains, just "たかい(takai)" is enough.






Just like "tall", when we translate "short" into Japanese, we also need to care about whether it is a person or not.

As we say "せがたかい(se ga takai)" for a tall person, we say "せがひくい(se ga hikui)" for a short person.

When we mention about low-rise buildings or short mountains, we just use "ひくい(hikui)".



By the way, in English, short has another meaning.
It is the opposite meaning of "long".

If you want to know about this usage of "short", please check this:



Regarding "Short" for height, please check the table below:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
short
(person)
せがひくいse ga hi ku i背が低い
short
(object)
ひくいhi ku i低い


The phrase "せがひくい(se ga hikui)" includes "ひくい(hikui)".

"せがひくい(se ga hikui)" consists of "せ(se)", "が(ga)", and "ひくい(hikui)".


person's height,
(someone's) back

ひくい low


Also, I will explain more about "ひくい(hikui)" in this article:


So if we translate directly, the phrase "せがひくい(se ga hikui)" means "Someone's height is low".

This sentence is often used as "short" for people in Japanese.




Let's check the examples below!


1.
sa su ke sa ma wa se ga hi ku i de su


     Meaning :  "Mr. Sasuke is short."
     
さすけ Sasuke
(person's name)
さま Mr., Ms.


"さま(sama)" is a similar word to "さん(san)".
If you want to know more about "さま(sama)", please check this:


In this example, "せがひくい(se ga hikui)" is used instead of "ひくい(hikui)" because さすけさま is a person.




2.
a no ya ma wa hi ku i de su


     Meaning :  "That mountain is short."
     
あの that
やま mountain


In this example sentence, just "ひくい(hikui)" is used because the mountain is not a person.




Like the examples above, when we translate "tall" or "short" into Japanese, we need to care about whether it is a person or not.


If you speak about a short person, "せがひくい(se ga hikui)" should be used.

If you speak about other things, like mountains, just "ひくい(hikui)" is enough.






When I explained about "tall" and "short" above, we learned "たかい(takai)" and "ひくい(hikui)".


EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
highたかいta ka i高い
lowひくいhi ku i低い


These are the words which can be used in general for something high or something low.


Let's check the examples below!

1.
ka ku ri tsu ga ta ka i


     Meaning :  "The probability is high. (high probabiliry)"
     
かくりつ probability



2.
ka ku ri tsu ga hi ku i


     Meaning :  "The probability is low. (low probabiliry)"



3.
ku ra i ga ta ka i


     Meaning :  "The ranking is high. (high ranking)"
     
くらい ranking



4.
ku ra i ga hi ku i


     Meaning :  "The ranking is low. (low ranking)"



Like the examples above, in Japanese, high is "たかい(takai)", and low is "ひくい(hikui)".




However, there is one thing you need to be careful when you use "たかい(takai)" and "ひくい(hikui)".


That is the case when you talk about the price of something.

In English, we can say "The price is high".

Just like that, we can say "ねだんがたかい(nedan ga takai)" in Japanese.
"ねだん" means "price".

It is the same as English.


However, we can't say "ねだんがひくい(nedan ga hikui)".

Maybe, native speakers can understand the meaning.
But it sounds strange.

If you want to say this, please say "ねだんがやすい(nedan ga yasui)".
"やすい(yasui)" means "cheap".



Just in cause, let's check the table for "high price" and "low price" in Japanese:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
expensiveたかいta ka i高い
cheepやすいya su i安い


When you talk about the price, please use "たかい(takai)" and "やすい(yasui)"!






I have already explained about Tall and Short above.

For an extra information, let's check the different way to use Short!


Long and Short:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
longながいna ga i長い
shortみじかいmi ji ka i短い


As we checked above, when you are talking about height, "せがひくい(se ga hikui)" is the proper translation for a short person.

However, when you are talking about length, "みじかい(mijikai)" is used.


Let's check the example sentences!


1.
shi p po ga na ga i de su


     Meaning :  "The tail is long."
     
しっぽ tail


2.
ko no ro pu wa mi ji ka i de su


     Meaning :  "This rope is short."
     
ロープ rope

If you don't remember the Katakana for "ロープ", please check this:

If you want to check your memory of Katakana, please use this:



Like the example sentences above, Long and Short are "ながい(nagai)" and "みじかい(mijikai)" in Japanese!






Anyway! Below is the important tables in this article!

Tall and Short:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
tall
(person)
せがたかいse ga ta ka i背が高い
tall
(object)
たかいta ka i高い
short
(person)
せがひくいse ga hi ku i背が低い
short
(object)
ひくいhi ku i低い


High and Low:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
highたかいta ka i高い
lowひくいhi ku i低い


Long and Short:

EnglishJapaneseRomajiKanji
longながいna ga i長い
shortみじかいmi ji ka i短い



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