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Lately I have come across two new “Grammar structures.” (I struggle to call them grammar because they are just phrases, but whatever.)

まるで。。。ように and かのように.

I understand they can both work together, but what’s the difference between each of them. For example comparing:

彼はまるで天才のように俺たちを見下げた,

彼は天才であるかのように俺たちを見下げた; And

彼は天才のように俺たちを見下げた.

I take it that まるで and かの add an aspect of ‘just’ like something. But does each of these just add emphasis or am I missing something majorly?

And to sum it up I guess what is the connotation if it is all together:

彼はまるで天才であるかのように俺たちを見下げた。

3

まるで

1 違いがわからないほどあるものやある状態に類似しているさま。あたかも。さながら。「この惨状は丸で地獄だ」「丸で夢のよう」

(From https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/210069/meaning/m0u/)

The definition says that it is used when we want to emphasize the fact that two things look so much alike that you can't see the difference.

Now I personally like to look at the root of the words when learning them, so I learned to see まるで like something that includes the thing it refers to as a whole because of the meaning of 丸 (round shape, circle). So I'd usually translate it by something like "complete(ly)" (I'm not a translator though) which I think carries more or less the same meaning.

丸で地獄だ : It is complete hell

When added to (か)のように I feel like it adds the same nuance of taking what follows as a whole and although sometimes it sounds more natural not to translate it, I would still see it as "complete(ly)".

のように

I assume you learned this grammar so I am not going to go too much into it, but 様 carries the meanings "way, appearance" so if you want to see it in a literal way you can translate it in your head as "in a way/appearance of..."

か is, to me, a particle that shows uncertainty. In the case of かのように, I feel like the か is what gives the expression this meaning of "as if" (something that is thought to be unreal).

To sum it up, this is how I would translate (literally) the expressions in your sentences:

まるで天才のように : In a way of completely a genius (like he's a complete genius)

天才であるかのように : In a way as if he is a genius (as if he were a genius)

天才のように : In a way of a genius (like he's a genius)

まるで天才であるかのように : In a way as if he is a complete genius (as if he were a complete genius)

This is how I make the distinction.

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  • By any chance can ‘まるで’ be used in a similar way to ‘もし(も)’ like as in I guess a warning that this sentence will end in a structure? – I dunno what to call myself Jul 2 '18 at 11:54
  • Secondly by the sounds of it, the full marude kanoyou would the best in what I’m tying to say? – I dunno what to call myself Jul 2 '18 at 11:56
  • Not necessarily, まるで as I said is only an additional word and it's not required when using のよう, I feel like もしも's usage is no different. So you can either use のよう alone, or まるで alone (or both together). @Idunnowhattocallmyself Also sorry for the late answer – Breton Loïc Jul 10 '18 at 16:54

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