501 - ごとく

This lesson is on:


JLPT N1: ごとく・ごとき (like; as)

As I set out to write this lesson, I thought, Oh, awesome, ごとく and ごとき. I can write about the first time I heard ごとき in the idiom:


✕ 光陰矢のごとき
✕ こういんやのごとき
✕ Time flies like an arrow


Just one problem. The idiom is actually:


〇 光陰矢のごとし
〇 こういんやのごとし
〇 Time flies like an arrow


Oops.

Just another example of my brain messing my Japanese up again. *_*

Anyway, ごとく、ごとき、and ごとし all pretty much mean the same thing: "like" or "as."

In other words, they mean ように, only they are outdated Japanese typically appearing only in formal and/or written content.

I should be more specific.

ごとく is like ように
ごとき is like ような

That's why ごとき can come before nouns, but ごとく cannot.


Is this all sounding a bit familiar?

Well, maybe that's because we've had a lesson on ごとき before!

[NDL #389] - JLPT N1: ごとき

No worries if you'd forgotten all about it. I personally had forgotten about that lesson until I got to the end of this one! To my credit, that was over a 100 lessons ago, and I've been teaching a lot of Japanese since then.

In the previous ごとき / ごとく lesson, we were looking at a more metaphorical usage of ごとき and ごとく. Like in this sentence:


生まれたばかりの子供は天使ごとく美しい。
うまれた ばかり の こども は てんし の ごとく うつくしい。
A newborn child is as beautiful as an angel.
Literally: "just born (=born + just) + の + child + は + angel + の + ごとく + beautiful."
Note: Am I the only person that thinks newborns look like little alien monsters?


That's some complicated-looking grammar.

Luckily, in the current lesson we're not dealing with metaphors.

Rather, we're dealing with "like" and "as" as they are used in sentences like this:


先週メールで知らせたごとく、店をたたむことになりそうだ。
せんしゅう メール で しらせた ごとく、 みせ を たたむ こと に なりそう だ。
As I mentioned in the e-mail last week, it looks like we’ll be closing down the shop.
Literally: “last week + e-mail / message + で + informed / notified + ごとく, + close down the business (=shop + を + fold up) + こと + に + looks like it will become + だ.”


Makes sense looking at the literal breakdown, yeah?


Let's get the construction out of the way. Ugh.

Generally speaking, we can do:


Plain Formごとく / ごとき


For example, we just saw:

知らせたごとく
しらせた ごとく
as mentioned; as informed; as notified
Literally: "notified / informed + ごとく"


If we're dealing with a NOUN, we'll have one of these:

NOUN + + ごとく / ごとき
NOUNであるごとく / ごとき


And with NA-ADJECTIVES, we'll get:

NA-ADJECTIVEごとく / ごとき
NA-ADJECTIVEであるごとく / ごとき


Examples appear below.



前述ごとく、未成年者は保護者の同意が必要です。
ぜんじゅつ の ごとく、 みせいねんしゃ は ほごしゃ の どうい が ひつよう です。
As mentioned above, minors require the consent of a parent or guardian.
Literally: “above-mentioned + の + ごとく, + minor / underage person + は + guardian + の + consent + が + necessary + です.”


入学試験は、ごとき日程で行われます。
にゅうがく しけん は、 つぎ の ごとき にってい で おこなわれます。
The entrance exam will take place according to the following schedule.
Literally: “entrance exam + は, + next + の + ごとき + schedule + で + will be carried out.”


宇宙の大きさと比べたら地球がちっぽけであるごとく、わたしの悩みもちっぽけだ。
うちゅう の おおきさ と くらべたら ちきゅう が ちっぽけ である ごとく、 わたし の なやみ も ちっぽけ だ。
Just as the Earth is minuscule in comparison to the size of outer space, so too are my worries (minuscule).
Literally: “space + の + size + と + when compared + Earth + が + tiny + である + ごとく, + I + の + worries + も + tiny + だ.”


Although I don't really use ごとく or ごとき in my own speech, I do come across them from time to time, particularly in written materials.

So let's remember this stuff!

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