The meaning of ii ne (いいね) in Japanese and how to use it

The Japanese phrase "ii ne" means that's good in Japanese.

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese expression ii ne, including its Japanese definition and translation, usage, example sentences, and more!

What does ii ne mean?

The Japanese expression ii ne (sometimes misspelled as ine by learners) means that’s good. Alternatively, ii ne can also mean sure or sounds good. You usually write this in hiragana as いいね, but it can also be written as 良いね.

The ii (いい)part is pronounced like the letter E in English and stands for “good”, while the ne (ね) particle translates as “isn’t it” or “right”? So literally, you are saying that’s good isn’t it!

Usage: That’s good!

The main way to use ii ne is the same as we have discussed. You’re basically saying that’s great or nice in response to something.

Atarashii kasa wo katta yo. Kawaii desho?
I bought a new umbrella. It’s cute, right?

ii ne!

Usage: “ii ne” vs. “ii”

The phrase ii ne is often used to show your agreement with a suggestion that someone makes. In English, this would translate as something like sure or sounds good.

Karaoke wa dou?
How about (we go to) karaoke?

ii ne!
Sounds good!

Interestingly enough, if you drop the ne part and say just ii on its own, then this becomes a refusal. In English, the equivalent would be no I’m good or no thanks.

Karaoke wa dou?
How about (we go to) karaoke?

Iya, ii.
Nah, I’m good.

A politer form: “ii desu ne”

As ii ne is a casual form, you would mostly use it with friends and family. The politer form is to say ii desu ne, pronouncing desu like “dess” without any “u” sound. The meaning and usage remains the same as ii ne.

Yatto ie wo kaimashita yo.
I finally bought a house.

ii desu ne!
That’s great!

Do bear in mind that Japanese people are generally polite. So don’t take a single ii desu ne as an expression of great interest in your story! As always, their tone and expression will usually tell you a lot.