644 - みたいだ (just like)

JLPT N4: みたいだ (like; just like)

We can attach みたいだ to NOUNS when we want to say that one thing is very similar or "just like" another thing.

Here's an example:


このマネキンは本物の人間みたいだね。
この マネキン は ほんもの の にんげん みたい だ ね。
This mannequin looks just like a person, doesn’t it?
Literally: “this + mannequin + は + the real thing + の + human + みたい + だ + ね.”
Note: If we ended this sentence with just みたいね (without だ), it would sound feminine.

This mannequin は real human みたいだね.
→ This mannequin is (just) like a real human, isn't it?
→ → This mannequin looks just like a person, doesn't it?

Make sense, maybe?


You may be wondering:

Does みたい come from putting the verb 見る (みる // to see; to look; to watch) into the ~たい (want to ~) form?

Uh... I don't think so. But if "wants to look" → "looks/is like" helps you remember this, I guess you can imagine that that's where it comes from.


👷 Construction 👷

My original plan for explaining how to form these sentences was to say that you should just put a NOUN right before みたいだ

NOUNみたいだ

...but I thought that might be a little confusing, as we also have sentences with みたいな and みたいに (because みたい acts as a na-adjective).

So instead it might help to remember these patterns:

NOUNみたいだ・みたいです
NOUNみたいなNOUN
NOUNみたいにADJECTIVEVERB


Examples:


この店、ガソリンみたいな匂いがするけど、大丈夫かしら。
この みせ、 ガソリン みたいな におい が する けど、 だいじょうぶ かしら。
This shop smells like gasoline. I wonder if everything’s all right.
Literally: “this + shop, + gasoline + みたい + な + smell + が + does + けど, + OK / all right + I wonder ([feminine language])."
Note: I was tempted to put “I wonder if it’s safe.” The more literal English translation of “I wonder if it’s OK” seemed a bit odd to me.


隣の家は、ライオンみたいに大きい犬を飼っている。
となり の いえ は、 ライオン みたいに おおきい いぬ を かっている。
The people next door have a dog that’s so big it's like a lion.
Literally: “next door + の + house + は, + lion + みたい + に + big + dog + を + are keeping (a pet).”


Lastly, while it is most common to have a NOUN come before みたいだ, it is actually possible to have words that are not nouns coming before it.

For example, here we have the VERB (phrase) 起きたばかり (おきたばかり // just woke up) coming right before it:

社長はついさっき起きたばかりみたいなをしている。
しゃちょう は つい さっき おきた ばかり みたいな かお を している。
The (company) president looks like he just woke up a second ago.
Literally: “company president + は + just now + woke up + just (did) + みたい + な + face + を + is doing.”


みたいだ is extremely common Japanese, especially in spoken language.

So it's worth setting aside extra time to really master this one and try to make some sentences of your own.

You don't need to make long sentences. Simple ones like these are very common:


みたい
ゆめ みたい。
It’s like a dream.
Literally: “dream + みたい.”
Note: For example, you could say this when going to a place that has a dreamlike feel to it. Or you can say it when experiencing something unbelievable, feeling that you're living in a dream world.

子供みたいだね。
こども みたい だ ね。
He’s [She's] like a child. // They're like children.
Literally: “child + みたい + だ + ね.”

There is also another use of みたいだ that we'll see in an upcoming N4 lesson.




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