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These are all different forms of the helping verb ごとし. They are used differently this way: 如し ⇒ のようだ (used as a verb) 如く ⇒ のように、のようで (used like an adverb) 如き ⇒ のような (used as an adjective) 目差しは炎の如し ⇒ 目差しは炎のようだ (his) gaze was as a flaming fire 海の如く広い草原を渡る ⇒ 海のように広い草原を渡る (we) cross a plain wide as the sea 馬の如き速さで走る ⇒ 馬のような速さで走る to run ...


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~(の)如し is used as a predicate. (sounds archaic rather than simply literary) ~(の)如き modifies a noun (i.e., adjectivally). ~(の)如く modifies a verb (i.e., adverbially). その動きは蝶の如し。 His movement is like a butterfly. 光陰矢の如し。 Time flies. (lit. "Days and nights are like arrows.") 蝶の如き動きを見せた。 He showed a butterfly-like movement. 蝶の如く動いた。 He moved like a ...



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