Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 4: 2/18

Like, Similar to, Resembling

Verb + みたい + Verb(1)
Noun + みたい + Verb(1)
Noun(2) + みたい + Noun

(1) Adverb、[い]Adjective[な]Adjective
(2) Verb
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使用域 一般
As learned in our previous lesson about みたい, it is a な-Adjective. This means that it can be used in conjunction with nouns, or with verbs. In each of these cases, it will carry the meaning of ‘like (A)’, or ‘resembling (A)’. The difference between みたい describing a verb or a noun can be identified by whether it is followed by な (describes a noun), or (describes a verb). Let’s take a look at some examples.
  • プロみたいに泳(およ)ぎたい
    I want to swim like a professional.
  • 先生(せんせい)みたいになりたい
    I want to be like my teacher.
  • 先生(せんせい)みたいな人(ひと)になりたい
    I want to become someone like my teacher.
  • 関西(かんさい)みたいな所(ところ)住(す)みたい
    I want to live in a place like the Kansai region.
This difference is important to know, as (B), the thing that みたい is describing, does not always come directly after みたい.
  • 彼(かれ)イルカみたいに泳(およ)ぎたい言(い)っている
    He is saying that he wants to swim like a dolphin.
  • 彼(かれ)イルカみたいに、早(はや)く泳(およ)ぎたい言(い)っている
    He is saying that he wants to swim fast like a dolphin.
In the second example sentence, we can see that 泳(およ)ぐ (the verb that is linked to), does not actually come until later in the sentence. This is quite a regular occurrence, especially in longer passages.
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.
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I want to become like that woman.
That is a castle-like house.
Today's weather is very winter-like isn't it.

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