651 - みたいだ (looks like)

Recently, we saw how みたいだ can be used to say that one thing is very similar to another: [NDL #644] - JLPT N4: みたいだ (just like).

Here, however, we're looking at how みたいだ can be used to say that something seems or looks a certain way:


JLPT N4: みたいだ (looks like; seems as if; apparently)

Let's dive right into an example:


最近、さらに目が悪くなったみたい
さいきん、 さらに め が わるくなった みたい。
It seems like my eyes have gotten even worse recently.
Literally: “recently, + even more + eyes + が + bad + became + みたい.”

Without the みたい at the end, that sentence would be:


最近、さらに目が悪くなった。
さいきん、 さらに め が わるくなった。
My eyes have gotten even worse recently.
Literally: “recently, + even more + eyes + が + bad + became.”

In other words, adding みたい gives the sentence the nuance that this is a conjecture (=a guess) based on the speaker's feeling or observation.

For the translation, I went with, "It seems like my eyes have gotten even worse recently." But we also could have said something like, "I feel like my eyes have gotten even worse recently."

Since みたいだ is used for conjecture, you cannot put it at the end of a phrase that is expressing your intention to do something. In other words, if the thing that "looks" or "seems" likely is under your complete control, don't use みたいだ.


Looks like it's time to construct some sentences.

Unlike the construction that we saw in the other version of みたいだ, in which it is typically preceded by a NOUN, the word directly before the "looks like / seems like みたいだ" will be any word in plain form. This includes verbs in plain form and nouns and na-adjectives just as they are (i.e. not followed by a particle like の or な, respectively).

Plain Form Word (e.g. plain-form VERB or NOUN/na-adjective) + みたいだ

みたいだ is used in spoken Japanese. It is more casual than ようだ, which we'll be talking about more in the next lesson.


An example with a na-adjective preceding みたいだ:


沖縄の人はお酒が大好きみたいだね。
おきなわ の ひと は おさけ が だいすき みたいだ ね。
Apparently people in Okinawa love drinking, huh?
Literally: “Okinawa + の + person + は + alcohol + が + greatly liked / loved + みたい + だ + ね.”
Note: Removing the だ would make this sentence sound feminine.


The speaker might say this while in Okinawa on vacation, having noticed that Okinawan people drink a lot of alcohol. (I don't know if that's true, by the way.)


Unlike, say, (だ)そうだ (see this lesson), we do not classify みたいだ as "hearsay grammar" (i.e. reporting information obtained from other sources).

That said, you can still use みたいだ after hearing about some information from another source.

For example, if you were watching the news or reading the newspaper and found out that there is a high probability that it will snow tomorrow, you could say:


明日は雪が降るみたいよ。
あした は ゆき が ふる みたい よ。
Looks like it’s gonna snow tomorrow.
Literally: “tomorrow + は + snow + が fall + みたい + よ.”
Note: Putting だ before よ would make this not sound feminine.


↑ "Apparently it's gonna snow tomorrow" would be good translation, too, I think.


One last example, and we'll be finished:


あの人が新しい校長先生みたいだね。
あの ひと が あたらしい こうちょうせんせい みたいだ ね。
Looks like he’s [she’s] the new principal, huh?
Literally: “that + person + が + new + school principal + みたい + だ + ね.”


みたいだ is extremely common in spoken Japanese. Master it!






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