30 Most Common Vietnamese Adjectives That You Must Know

Vietnamese adjectives is not difficult!

In this lesson, we will learn some of the most common adjectives and their opposites in Vietnamese that you can use to describe things and objects.

If you are new to the Vietnamese language, I highly recommend you to start with my free course "Learn Vietnamese Basics in 1 Hour"

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How Adjectives work in Vietnamese

An adjective is simply a word that describes a noun. In Vietnamese, adjectives are placed after the noun that it describes or modifies. For instance:

  • Cái áo màu đỏ
    The red shirts

  • Nhạc to
    Loud music

In Vietnamese, there are also something called adjective-like verbs.

These are words that behave like an adjective, and when translated into English, are equivalent to "to be" (am/is/are/was/were) plus an adjective.

  • Cái áo này đẹp
    This shirt is pretty

  • Phở bò ngon
    Beef pho is tasty

Common Vietnamese Adjective List

Here is the list 10 common adjectives and their opposites in Vietnamese with example sentences.

1. TO/BỰ/LỚN vs NHỎ

to - big, large (size of objects/fruits/animals/body parts) or loud (noise/sound)
bự - big, large (similar to "to", but might sound too casual)
lớn - big, large; (similar to "to"), but also depicts the growth of someone/something
nhỏ - small, soft or low volume (noise/sound)

Example:

  • Mình muốn một cái túi vừa phải, không to không nhỏ
    I want a bag that is just right, not too big, not too small

  • Nhạc to quá! Làm ơn vặn nhỏ lại!
    The music is too loud! Please turn (it) down!

  • Cổ đang làm cho một công ty lớn.
    She's working for a big company.

  • Dạo này con của cổ lớn ghê!
    These days her children are so big! (= the children grow fast)

  • Trái xoài bự/to/lớn này bao nhiêu tiền?
    How much is this big mango?

2. CAO vs THẤP

cao - tall, high
thấp - short, low in height

Example:

  • Mình thì cao, còn chị gái mình thì thấp
    I’m tall, while my sister is short
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3. NGẮN vs DÀI

ngắn - short in length
dài - long

Example:

  • Bạn thích con gái tóc ngắn hay là tóc dài?
    Do you like girls with short hair or long hair?

4. NẶNG vs NHẸ

nặng - heavy
nhẹ - light (in terms of weight)

Example:

  • Em xách cái túi nhẹ đi, để anh xách cái túi nặng!
    You carry the light bag, let me carry the heavy bag!

5. RỘNG vs CHẬT

rộng - wide, big (in terms of space)
chật - tight

Example:

  • Quần này hơi chật. Bạn có quần rộng hơn không?
    These pants are a bit tight. Do you have wider pants?

6. DÀY vs MỎNG

dày - thick
mỏng - thin

Example:

  • Bạn thích ăn đế pizza dày hay là mỏng?
    Do you like to eat thick or thin pizza crust?
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7. CỨNG vs MỀM

cứng - hard, tough
mềm - soft, tender

Example:

  • Mình thích nằm nệm cứng hơn là nệm mềm
    I prefer a hard mattress to a soft mattress

8. NHANH vs CHẬM

nhanh - fast
chậm - slow

Example:

  • Đi tàu chậm lắm! Đi máy bay nhanh hơn!
    Taking the train is very slow! Taking the plane is faster!

9. MỚI vs CŨ

mới - new - old

Example:

  • Mình mua cái điện thoại mới thay thế cái cũ bị hỏng.
    I bought a new phone to replace the old one got broken.

10. SẠCH vs DƠ

sạch - clean
- dirty

Example:

  • Khăn của mình bị dơ. Cho mình mượn một cái khăn sạch.
    My towel got dirty. Please lend me a clean towel.
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11. THƠM vs HÔI / THÚI

thơm - describes something being “fragrant” or simply has good, pleasant smell
hôi - smelly, stinky
thúi - smelly, stinky (often used in spoken Southern dialect)

Example:

  • A: Sầu riêng hôi lắm, mình không ăn được!
    Durian is so smelly, I can't eat (it)!

  • B: Mình thấy nó thơm mà!
    I find it smells good!

12. KHÔ vs ƯỚT

khô - dry
ướt - wet

Example:

  • Cái chăn còn ướt, chưa có khô.
    The blanket is still wet, not dry yet.

13. XẤU vs ĐẸP

xấu - ugly
đẹp - beautiful, pretty, good/nice-looking

Example:

  • Cái này xấu lắm! Mua cái túi kia đẹp hơn!
    This one is very ugly! Buy that bag (it’s) nicer!

14. MẮC vs RẺ

mắc - expensive, pricey
rẻ - cheap, inexpensive

Example:

  • Cái ti vi này hơi mắc! Có cái nào rẻ hơn không?
    This TV is a bit expensive! Is there anything cheaper?
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15. THẬT / THIỆT vs GIẢ / DỎM / DỞM

thật / thiệt - real, true
giả - fake
dỏm / dởm - fake & bad quality (often used in spoken Southern dialect)

Example:

  • Đồ thiệt thường mắc hơn đồ dỏm
    Real stuff is usually more expensive than fake stuff

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