How to Express Similes in Japanese (Sentence Patterns #3)

Updated: Apr 13, 2021


 

You can compare two nouns using a “like” simile by following the sentence structure [A] は [B] のようです (“A is like B.”)


You can compare two nouns using an “as” simile by following the structure [A] は [B] のように [adjective] です (“A is as [adjective] as B.”).


You can also use a simile to describe an action by following the sentence pattern [A] は [B] のように [verb] (“A [verb]s like B.”).


 

Sentence Structure #1

[Noun A] は [noun B] のようです。

[Noun A] wa [noun B] no you desu.


[Noun A] is like [noun B].



This sentence pattern expresses a simile using “like.” You can use this structure to say that one person or thing is like another person or thing.



Examples


アイスクリームは友達のようです。

アイスクリームはともだちのようです。

Aisukuri–mu wa tomodachi no you desu.


Ice cream is like a friend.



このホットチョコレートは暖かい抱擁のようです。

このホットチョコレートはあたたかいほうようのようです。

Kono hotto chokole–to wa atatakai houyou no you desu.


This hot chocolate is like a warm hug.



In addition to figurative expressions, this structure can also be used to state facts. Thus, whether sentences like this include a simile depends on the context and the two things being compared. Unlike the two previous examples, the example below is not a simile (since it states a fact), though it follows the same structure.



Example


チューターは先生のようです。

チューターはせんせいのようです。

Chu–ta– wa sensei no you desu.


A tutor is like a teacher.



Sentence Structure #2

[Noun A] は [noun B] のように [adjective] です。

[Noun A] wa [noun B] no you ni [adjective] desu.


[Noun A] is as [adjective] as [noun B].



This sentence structure expresses a simile using “as.” You can use this sentence pattern to say that something is like something else in a specific way (as described by the adjective).


(Note the addition of に after のよう, which is different from Sentence Structure #1.)



Examples


これは雪のように白いです。

これはゆきのようにしろいです。

Kore wa yuki no you ni shiroi desu.


This is as white as snow.



彼は蛤のように嬉しいです。

かれははまぐりのようにうれしいです。

Kare wa hamaguri no you ni ureshii desu.


He is as happy as a clam.



Sentence Structure #3

[Noun A] は [noun B] のように [verb].

[Noun A] wa [noun B] no you ni [verb].


[Noun A] [verb]s like [noun B].


This sentence structure is just like the previous one, except that the sentence ends with a verb instead of an adjective. You can use this to say that one person or thing performs an action like another person or thing.



Examples


彼女は風のように走ります。

かのじょはかぜのようにはしります。

Kanojo wa kaze no you ni hashirimasu.


She runs like the wind.



今夜、私は赤ちゃんのように寝る。

こんや、わたしはあかちゃんのようにねる。

Konya, watashi wa akachan no you ni neru.


I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight.

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