could anyone explain to me ような and ようにdifference because its so complicated for me. I have in my book N1のようなN2 and Nのように[v,adjい,adjな] but sometimes I see that after ように there is a noun for example; この町は、しんじゅくのように車が多いです。

1 Answer 1


ような is an adjectival (noun-modifying) form, and ように is an adverbial (verb/adjective-modifying) form. In your sentence, しんじゅくのように is modifying the next adjective, 多い, not 車 (which is a noun).

≈ この町は、車がしんじゅくのよう多いです。

This town, just like Shinjuku does, has a lot of cars.
(Or super-literally: As for this town, cars are abundant like Shinjuku.)

If you used ような, しんじゅくのよう ("like Shinjuku") would modify 車, resulting in a grammatical but nonsensical sentence:

❓This town has a lot of Shinjuku-like cars.

In general, English doesn't always distinguish adjectival forms and adverbial forms. For example, "sing like a bird" and "eyes like a bird" are both valid phrases, and "like" works for both cases. On the other hand, in Japanese, this distinction is much more strict, and you have to choose the correct form depending on whether the phrase is used adjectivally or adverbially. "To sing like a bird" is 鳥のよう歌う but "eyes like a bird" is 鳥のよう目.

However, as in your example, another word may come between a modifier and the word it modifies. In such cases, you can still determine which word is modifying which by looking at the form. Since ように never modifies a noun such as 車, you can look at the next verb or adjective. For another example, 鳥のよう歌を歌う means "to sing a song like a bird" (鳥のように modifies 歌う), while 鳥のよう歌を歌う means "to sing a bird-like song" (鳥のような modifies 歌).

See also: using の with と,で, から, まで

  • I was going to answer this myself and then I had doubts. Does ように really modify 多い in this sentence? I started wondering if ように could act as a sentence adverb like 'Unfortunately, ...'. From a logical point of view it felt me that, if it acted on 多い, it would be suggesting that the town has 'as many cars as Shinjuku'. Commented Jun 17 at 18:21
  • 1
    @user3856370 This sentence is actually saying the town has as many cars as Shinjuku at least in terms of density. The total number of cars might be smaller if it's a small town, though.
    – naruto
    Commented Jun 17 at 23:44

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