Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 3: 3/18

Like, Similar to, Resembling

Conversational, Less formal than ようだ

Verb + みたい +
[い]Adjective + みたい +
[な]Adjective + みたい +
Noun + みたい +
Verb + みたい + です
[い]Adjective + みたい + です
[な]Adjective + みたい + です
Noun + みたい + です
Register Standard
使用域 一般
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, みたい. みたい can be used after any word that a な-Adjective would usually follow, to express that something is ‘like (A)’, or ‘similar to (A)’.
  • 明日(あした)雪(ゆき)降(ふ)みたいだ
    It seems like it will snow tomorrow.
  • そこプール浅(あさ)みたいだ
    That pool over there seems shallow.
  • 彼(かれ)地下鉄(ちかてつ)嫌(きら)いみたいだ
    It seems like he does not like subways.
  • その携帯(けいたい)パソコンみたいだ
    That cellphone looks like a computer.
In the above examples, we can see that みたい should always be followed by (or です) when it is at the end of a statement, however, this is frequently omitted.
  • 先輩(せんぱい)今日(きょう)来(こ)ないみたい
    It seems like senpai is not coming today.
みたい 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)’.
  • 彼(かれ)スポーツ選手(せんしゅ)みたいなている
    He has a body like an athlete.
みたい 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.
Fun Fact
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.
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This dog looks like a bear.
That person resembles/seems like a famous person.
It looks like it will rain this afternoon.
Genki II 1st Edition
Page 100
Genki II 2nd Edition
Page 126
Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
Page 260
[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
Page 153