Grammar Info

N4 Lesson 10: 4/18


To look, To seem, To appear


Verb + よう(1) + + みえる
[い]Adjective[+ そうに(2) + みえる
[な]Adjective + そう) + + みえる
Noun + + よう(1))+ + みえる

(1) みたい


  • Register


  • 使用域


About にみえる

にみえる (primarily written only in hiragana) is a phrase that combines the case marking particle, with the る-Verb()える 'to appear', or 'to be visible'. This construction is regularly used with nouns, to show that something 'appears to be (A)', but it may also be partnered with the auxiliary verbs ようだ or そうだ (in their adverbial forms ように and そうに) to add a level of uncertainty. In these cases, it sounds closer to 'to seem to be (A)' in English.
  • あの(くも)アイスクリームにみえる
    That cloud looks like ice cream.
  • サム(およ)(かた)(おぼ)ているようにみえる
    Sam's way of swimming looks as if he is drowning.
  • (さむ)そうにみえるけど大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)
    You look like you are cold, are you okay?
  • あの仕事(しごと)大変(たいへん)そうにみえる
    That job looks like it is tough.
  • 一人(ひとり)(くら)(ところ)いるなんでも(かお)のようにみえる
    When I am in a dark place alone, everything looks like a face.
As with many other ようだ structures, みたい may be used instead. This creates the expression みたいにみえる. While this may appear confusing at first, it just means 'to look like something that could be (A)'. In this way it reinforces the 'guess' that the speaker is making.
  • このコート()(ふと)みたいにみえるから(きら)
    It seems to look like I got fat when I wear this coat, so I don't like it.
In grammar constructions like this, kanji will very rarely be used. This is primarily because it will change the way a native speaker perceives the meaning. Many grammar structures are written purely in hiragana, specifically to express that they are a 'set' construction. Adding kanji can lead a reader to assume that the writer is highlighting the kanji's meaning, rather than the more common grammatical meaning.





    He looks/appears busy.


    The teacher looks/appears angry.


    This suitcase looks light/appears light.


    She seems/appears happy.


    Looking at this picture, we seem like a family. (look like・appear as)

  • Get more example sentences!

    Premium users get access to 12 example sentences on all Grammar Points.

Self-Study Sentences

Study your own way!

Add sentences and study them alongside Bunpro sentences.

  • Online

    • Offline

        • [AIAIJ] An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese

          Page 171

      • Track Resources!

        Bunpro tracks all of the resources you’ve visited, and offers relevant bookmarks of physical books to help with offline tracking.

      にみえる – Grammar Discussion

      Most Recent Replies (13 in total)

      • Fuga


        Hey there @Inounx !

        The translations for 安く見える and 安そうに見える are very close in English, but there is a difference in nuance between these two.

        The sentence using 安く見える has the nuance of ‘Because the products around this one is all expensive, it makes this one look cheap (even though it’s not actually that cheap)’. ex: $200 a night for a hotel is expensive, but if all the other hotels around it charge $700 a night, the $200 hotel ‘seems’ cheap.

        The sentence using 安そうに見える has the nuance of ‘Because the products around this one is all expensive, they make this one look like it might be cheap’ (the Japanese sentence sounds a bit unnatural, 周りの商品が高そうだから、これは安そうにみえる would sound more natural). Because そう is used here, we can see that the speaker is assuming that this product might be cheap because it appears cheaper than the pricier/expensive looking options around it. In this sentence, everything is assumption based, while the firs...

      • Inounx


        Thanks @Fuga for the explanation ! It is much clearer now.

      • Enerccio


        Why is that variant with く only briefly mentioned by single reference and no text in the main entry? This just trips person seeing the sentence for the first time…

      Got questions about にみえる? Join us to discuss, ask, and learn together!

      Join the Discussion