Grammar Info

N3 Lesson 10: 9/20


-ish, -like, Characteristic of, Typical of, Tendency to

Often has negative connotation.


Verb[ます+ っぽい
[い]Adjective[+ っぽい
[な]Adjective + っぽい
Noun + っぽい


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About っぽい

っぽい (occasionally also seen as ぽい) is a suffix that may be attached to many different types of words, in order to create new い-Adjectives. In all cases, っぽい indicates something that is 'exhibiting characteristics of (A)'. This is most often in reference to the way (A) is acting, or the way (A) looks. In English, っぽい may be translated as '(A)ish', '(A)like', or 'tendency to (A)'. っぽい quite often carries a negative connotation.
As っぽい creates い-Adjectives from other words, it may be used with the conjunctive form of verbs, or the 語幹(ごかん) (stem form) of any other word.
  • (わたし)()っぽいから(なに)(つづ)かない
    Because I have a tendency to get sick of things, I can't continue with anything.
  • (しろ)っぽいやつください。
    Please give me the whiteish one.
  • タナカ(くん)はファッション業界(ぎょうかい)有名(ゆうめい)っぽいよ!
    Apparently Tanaka-kun is popular in the fashion industry!
  • (いま)(はなし)(うそ)っぽいけど本当(ほんとう)(はなし)なの
    The story I just told you sounds like a lie, but it is actually true.
As っぽい creates new い-Adjectives, っぽい itself may be conjugated in exactly the same way as regular い-Adjectives.
  • (むかし)(むらさき)っぽかったのに(いま)はなぜか(あか)っぽい
    Back in the day, it was purpleish, but now for some reason it is reddish.
  • この(くつ)なんか(やす)っぽくない
    Don't these shoes look cheapish?
The fundamental meaning of っぽい will change depending on what type of word it is being used with. The general rules are as follows:
Verb + っぽい - To have a tendency to do (A).
Adjective + っぽい - To exhibit all the signs of being (A).
Noun + っぽい - To obviously not be (A), although show signs of being (A).
From this, we can see that っぽい is generally based on the opinion of the speaker, rather than the innate qualities of what is being observed. Thus, with verbs, adjectives, and nouns, the speaker feels like (A) is in excess, compared to what would be expected. This 'being in excess of what is normal' in the opinion of the speaker is what creates the negative connotation.





    Let alone having a good memory, Tom is forgetful. (~ish)


    This bag looks cheap, but I looked at the tag and it was expensive. (~ish)


    I don't even think about wanting to eat deep-fried chicken because it looks too greasy. (~ish)


    Because he has tendency to lose interest and give up, he quits soon after starting a new hobby. (~ish)


    Tora-san has the tendency to fall in love, and also has the tendency to lose interest. (~ish)

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っぽい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (6 in total)

  • Kert


    Isn’t は at the end of the sentence excessive? As I understand it’s shitai -> shitakunai, but there’s no は

  • nekoyama


    したくない is a direct way to say “I don’t want to do it”.

    したくはない (this is the particle は) is a bit softer, “I don’t want to do it, but…”. Implying that the person may still do it. They don’t like it, but perhaps it’s necessary or hard to avoid. It’s also a bit more considerate because it’s not as direct a rejection as outright saying “I don’t want to”.

  • Kert


    Thanks for the explanation!
    Is there a bunpro grammar point on this? Maybe it’s after N3 somewhere?
    UPD: found it in N2

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