(primarily written only in hiragana) is a phrase that combines the 格助詞（かくじょし） (case-marking particle) に
, with the る-Verb見（み）える
‘to appear’, or ‘to be visible’.
This construction is regularly used with nouns, to show that something ‘appears to be (A)’, but it may also be partnered with the auxiliary verbs ようだ
(in their adverbial forms ように
) to add a level of uncertainty. In these cases, it sounds closer to ‘to seem to be (A)’ in English.
That cloud looks like an ice cream.
Sam’s way of swimming looks as if he is drowning.
You look like you are cold, are you okay?
That job looks like it is tough.
When I am in a dark place alone, everything looks like a face.
As with many other ようだ
may be used instead. This creates the expression みたいにみえる
. While this may appear confusing at first, it just means ‘to look like something that could be (A)’. In this way it reinforces the ‘guess’ that the speaker is making.
It seems to look like I got fat when I wear this coat, so I don't like it.
In grammar constructions like this, kanji will very rarely be used. This is primarily because it will change the way a native speaker perceives the meaning. Many grammar structures are written purely in hiragana, specifically to express that they are a ‘set’ construction. Adding kanji can lead a reader to assume that the writer is highlighting the kanji’s meaning, rather than the more common grammatical meaning.