Japanese Grammar: Using Rashii (らしい), Mitai (みたい) and Poi (っぽい)
Intermediate Japanese Grammar: らしい, みたい, 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.
How to Use Rashii (らしい): Likeness
The suffix 〜rashii expresses that something is representing a characteristic very well.
- 男らしい男が好きだ。: I like a manly man.
- 今日は冬らしい寒い日です。: Today is a very cold and winter-like day.
How to Use Mitai (みたい): Like
The suffix mitai describes an appearance.
- 彼女の話し方は子供みたいです。: Her way of speaking is like a child.
- 綺麗な女性ですね。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:
- 子供っぽい: speaking of an adult, saying he is childish.
- 熱っぽい: speaking about yourself, being feverish.
- 忘れっぽい: 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:
- 男らしい: “masculine”. Positive attribute if you are referring to a man. However, if you are referring to a women, the nuance is negative.
- 男みたい: “like a man”. Masculine look or behavior.
- 男っぽい: “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?
Having figured these out, why not try differentiating between San, Sama, Kun, and Chan next!
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