Grammar Info
N4 Lesson 4: 11/18

らしい ①
Seems like, Apparently, I heard

Verb + らしい
[い]Adjective + らしい
[な]Adjective + らしい
Noun + らしい
Verb + らしい + です
[い]Adjective + らしい + です
[な]Adjective + らしい + です
Noun + らしい + です
Register Standard
使用域 一般
The 助動詞(じょどうし) (auxiliary verb) らしい is very similar to the auxiliary verbs そうだ and ようだ, in that it expresses something that the speaker ‘thinks’ is true. This use is known as 推定(すいてい) (presumption) in Japanese. However, despite being a presumption/assumption, らしい usually sounds relatively confident.
らしい is regularly translated as ‘it seems like (A)’, or ‘I heard that (A)’.
To use らしい, attach it to end of any (non-polite) verb, adjective, or noun.
  • ねえ、聞(き)い?タケシ君(くん)キヨミちゃんプロポーズするらしい
    Hey, did you hear? It seems that Takeshi-kun is proposing to Kiyomi-chan.
  • カシキさん彼氏(かれし)カッコいらしい
    I heard that Kashiki-san's boyfriend is handsome.
  • タカギ先輩(せんぱい)さっき言(い)っていた事(こと)本当(ほんとう)らしいです
    Apparently the thing that Takagi senpai was talking about earlier is true.
  • あの人(ひと)フランス人(じん)らしい
    I heard that person is French.
In these examples, らしい indicates that the speaker has some reason to believe that (A) is true. This could be that they heard, saw, or read something, but are still not 100% sure whether their understanding is correct or not. In this way, it sounds very similar to ‘it appears as though (A)’ in English.
  • 今朝(けさ)、新聞(しんぶん)読(よ)んだけど、明日(あした)から雪(ゆき)降(ふ)らしい
    I read this in the newspaper this morning, but It appears as though it is going to start snowing tomorrow.
There are 2 main forms of らしい in Japanese. The auxiliary verb usage mentioned above, and the 形容詞(けいようし)の一部(いちぶ) (auxiliary adjective), a type of adjective that must be attached to another word for it have have any meaning usage. らしい has the meaning of something that is ‘typical of (A)’, when used as an auxiliary adjective.
  • あなた本当(ほんとう)に男(おとこ)らしい
    You are really manly, aren't you. (You exhibit the typical qualities of a man)
  • やっと11月(がつ)らしい天気(てんき)になっ
    The weather is finally becoming November-like, don't you think? (Weather that is typical of November)
This い-Adjective use of らしい will be covered more in our second らしい lesson.
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He seems likely to continue his diet.
I heard that your ex-girlfriend got engaged.
I heard that he is a president of a company.
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[DBJG] A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
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Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
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[AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
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