Japanese Grammar: Using Rashii (らしい), Mitai (みたい) and Poi (っぽい)

Posted by on September 5, 2016 – Japanese Study
Using Rashii Mitai and Ppoi

Intermediate Japanese Grammar: らしい, みたい, っぽい

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Rashii (らしい)
Mitai (みたい)
Poi (っぽい)

More than once, a Japanese learner will struggle over some grammar points. Among the tricky suffixes, rashii, mitai and poi have confused our students more than once as they convey similar meanings.

Do you know how to use them correctly?

Let’s go over some simple examples for you to contrast rashii (らしい), mitai (みたい) and poi (っぽい) better.

Japanese Grammar: How To Use rashii, mitai and poi?

Japanese Grammar: How To Use rashii, mitai and poi?

How to Use Rashii (らしい): Likeness

The suffix 〜rashii expresses that something is representing a characteristic very well.

  • おとこ) らしいおとこきだ。: I like a manly man.
  • 今日きょうふゆらしいさむです。: Today is a very cold and winter-like day.

How to Use Mitai (みたい): Like

The suffix mitai describes an appearance.

  • 彼女かのじょはなかた子供こどもみたいです。: Her way of speaking is like a child.
  • 綺麗きれい女性じょせいですね。モデルみたいです。: She is a beautiful woman. Like a model!

How to Use Poi (っぽい): -ish, Somewhat

Finally, 〜poi is often translated as “like” in English. You will use it to speak about a quality often adverse. The following examples will help you understand more clearly the nuance:

  • 子供こどもっぽい: speaking of an adult, saying he is childish.
  • ねつっぽい: speaking about yourself, being feverish.
  • わすれっぽい: having a tendency to forget


Keep in mind that the more you will read Japanese and practice Japanese, the more you will be able to distinguish the nuance. Let’s review the nuance between rashii, mitai and poi with one last example:

  • おとこらしい: “masculine”. Positive attribute if you are referring to a man. However, if you are referring to a women, the nuance is negative.
  • おとこみたい: “like a man”. Masculine look or behavior.
  • おとこっぽい: “man-ish”. Neutral if you are speaking about a man. However, if you are speaking about a woman the nuance is negative.

Attention! Both 〜rashii and 〜mitai have other usages that we will review in another article. If you are struggling to study Japanese, why not join a course at Coto Japanese Academy?

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Having figured these out, why not try differentiating between San, Sama, Kun, and Chan next!

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