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From what I understand, 〜っぽい, 〜がち, and 〜やすい all seem to suggest that someone has a general tendency towards doing something. It seems that 〜っぽい and 〜がち can attach to a noun or to the 連用形 of a verb, while 〜やすい can attach to the 連用形 of a verb.

All three can be used in a sentence such as:

  • 彼女は大事なことを忘れっぽい。
  • 彼女は大事なことを忘れがちだ。
  • 彼女は大事なことを忘れやすい。

Is there a difference in meaning between these phrases?

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He is a forgetting-ish person. He tends to forget things. He forgets things easily. – 無色受想行識 Jul 19 '13 at 16:00
Is 忘れやすい even correct to apply to a person? It seems like it should apply to the thing. 忘れやすい名前, 忘れやすい顔, etc. – istrasci Jul 24 '13 at 15:17
up vote 2 down vote accepted

All three of the phrases are similar in that they are about conveying how something, or someone, appears to you. However, they do have different meanings that change the nature of what that appearance is.

  • 彼女は大事なことを忘れっぽい。

"She seems like the type who forgets important things." This is emphasizing how she appears to you, so it may or may not be the case that she does in fact forget important things, but it seems that way to you. You might want to compare and contrast ~っぽい, ~みたい, and ~らしい.

  • 彼女は大事なことを忘れがちだ。

"She tends to forget important things." In this case you are more certain of your personal assessment, but within that assessment you are saying that while she usually forgets important things, you also allow that she doesn't always.

  • 彼女は大事なことを忘れやすい。

This would be "she forgets important things easily." Where ~がち is about how often she forgets, ~やすい is about how reliably she forgets. However, as mentioned in the comments, I'm not sure ~やすい can be applied to people. Someone can correct me on this, but I think it would be more grammatical to say something like 彼女にとって、大事なことが忘れやすい, which would be "For her, important things are easy to forget."

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忘れっぽい = a bit informal

忘れがちだ = a bit formal

忘れやすい = general, common

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