Friday, March 22, 2019

ii いい

WIP: this article is incomplete and might change in the unforeseeable future.
In Japanese, ii いい means "good." Except when it doesn't. Which is most of the time.

Depending on context, ii can mean "alright," or "fine," or "okay," or "better."

For example:
  • sono hou ga ii
    その方がいい
    That way is better
  • kaette ii?
    帰っていい?
    Is it okay to return?
    • Can I go home?
  • kore de ii
    これでいい
    With this, it's alright.
  • ame ga furu to ii na
    雨が降るといい
    If rain rains: good.
    • It'd be good if it rained.
    • I wish it rained. I hope it rains.
  • yomeba ii
    読めばいい
    It's good if [you] read [it].
    • You should just read it.

It's also used in some pretty ways you wouldn't expect.

For example, suru ga ii するがいい is a pretentious sounding line used by villains in manga.

Phrases that end in wa ii はいい can mean either "that's good" or "that's unnecessary" depending on context, even though "good" and "unnecessary" sound like complete opposites..

Grammatically, ii いい is an i-adjective, but it isn't inflected like other adjectives. Instead of inflecting ii いい, you inflect the synonymous, but less used, yoi よい.

Thus, yokunai よくない, yokatta よかった, yoku よく, etc. end up being de facto the inflections of ii.

Furthermore, both ii and yoi can be spelled with kanji in a dozen different ways: 良い, 好い, 善い, etc. But they're normally spelled with hiragana instead.

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