In Japanese, there are many ways to express that something happens in a way that is ‘like’ something else, or ‘resembles’ something else. One of these ways is through the use of the な-Adjective
can be used after any word that a な-Adjective
would usually follow, to express that something is ‘like (A)’, or ‘similar to (A)’.
It seems like it will snow tomorrow.
That pool over there seems shallow.
It seems like he does not like subways.
That cellphone looks like a computer.
In the above examples, we can see that みたい
should always be followed by だ
) when it is at the end of a statement, however, this is frequently omitted.
is also often used to describe another noun, but needs to be followed by な in these cases. In this type of sentence, it is just expressing that something is ‘(B), but resembles (A)’.
is used most often in conversational situations, and is based on direct, reliable information. It is far less formal than its counterpart, ようだ
Despite みたい meaning ‘to resemble’, and being based on (usually) visual stimulus, it should not be confused with 見（み）たい ‘to want to see’. This is a common mistake that learners make, as みたい itself does not have a kanji form.
みたいだ is originally an abbreviation of the more formal phrase を見たような. As a result of this, we can see that ようだ kept its formal meaning, while みたい became the casual equivalent.