げ (ge) Meaning Japanese Grammar - It Seems

Author Anna Baffa Volpe for article 'げ (ge) Meaning Japanese Grammar - It Seems'

Anna Baffa Volpe

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げ (ge) Meaning Japanese Grammar - It Seems

The suffix げ (ge) is quite common in the Japanese language; it is translated as seemingly, giving appearance of.

We analysed in a previous post the synonym for げ: そう which refers to something that looks or appears in a certain way.

In this post, we look at the meaning of and its transcription into Kanji, the use of げ mainly with adjectives and combined with the volitional form expressed by たい.

How げ is formed

is a suffix used mainly with adjectives; use with nouns and verbs is possible, but limited.

い Adjective without い+
な Adjective without な+
Ichidan verbs: Base+
Godan verbs: Base in い+

How to use げ

The Kanji transcription of is which has various meanings: air, atmosphere, energy, mood, spirit.

It is used to express the feeling and impression that the person or situation gives off; it refers to something that looks a certain way, you don't have the certainty that it is that way, but you have the feeling that it is in the way described.

is synonymous with そう, that describes what it looks like to us.


She looks happy.

(かの)(じょ)(うれ)そうだ。 The term in げ may be followed by the copula だ or by the particles な and に.

followed by forms a new adjective and followed by becomes an adverb.

Use as an adjective: げな

Adjectives in い lose the vowel い and adjectives in な are used without the syllable な.


happy ⇨ looking happy


satisfied ⇨ looking satisified

Example with the adjective (たの)しい: cheerful

  • (たの)しい(ひと) a cheerful person; use of the い adjective
  • (たの)()(ひと) literally: a happy-looking person, an amused person; use of the form げな

Differences between the two descriptions:

  • (たの)しい(ひと) refers to a person who is basically happy and joyful; it describes their personality and disposition
  • (たの)()(ひと) refers to a person who is cheerful and lively like (たの)しい, likes to have fun, but describes more the mood of the moment

Example with the adjective (あや)しい suspicious, dubious :

  • (あや)しい(ひと) a suspicious person
  • (あや)しげな(ひと) a dubious person


A suspicious person is loitering around the house.

Example with the な adjective: (しん)(せつ)kind, gentle

  • (しん)(せつ)(ひと) refers to a gentleman and gentlewoman (personality)
  • (しん)(せつ)()(ひと) describes a friendly person, who makes a good impression on others

Image from a Website offering free illustrated images:

Summery materials that give a cool feeling
()(ざい) indicates the fabric, the material, the ingredient


Summer fabrics that give a cool feeling

We also find (すず)() in the description below the picture:


We have carefully selected summer fabrics with a cool image. The coloring is refreshing.

Use as adverb: げに


(たの)しげに joyfully, happily


Children on a field trip are happily eating their lunch.

げ used in combination with the volitional たい

It is not unusual to find げ joined to the volitional form expressed by たい. たい loses the い as with adjectives and becomes たげ.


She looked at me as if to say, 'I know you don't have to tell me that'.

A sentence that sounds like a pun, we are particularly interested in the ()いた_げな_ part:

  • comes from ()いたい I want to say, I mean

  • joined to げ becomes ()い_たげ_

  • adding な the whole expression functions as an adjective placed before the noun (): a look that seems to say...

    Other examples with the verb say ()う combined with the structure たい + げ:


'He has an expression as if he wants to say something'


He looked like he wanted to say something, but he left the room without saying anything.

げ combined with the verb ある

As I mentioned, the use of the げ structure with verbs is less common. Here is an example with the verb ある being, existing which is used with the Base in い or B2 + げ.

  • ()()ある: having a meaning, being meaningful


It looks like it has some meaning.

Examples of げ


I still remember how happy he looked when he showed me around his new home.

It may happen as in the previous sentence that the syllable な is omitted between the adjective in げ form and the noun that follows; both forms are correct.

In general, if な is omitted it is an objective statement, whereas if we use な the statement is subjective.


'My car is made in Japan,' he said, proudly.


On the morning of the entrance ceremony, my son was very anxious, but when he came home from school he was cheerful.

In this last sentence we have the term in げ joined to the copula だ.