I understand that のように (or ~みたい) are used to indicate similarity, but I recently stumbled upon the form "に似る" while listening to a song, and after looking at the dictionary, I learned that it also means "to resemble, to look like".

The sentence in the song was the following:


I read it as "like the courage I felt[...]"

But I wonder, are these forms interchangeable? What would be the difference, if any?

1 Answer 1


に似て (3 mora) is shorter than みたいで and のようで (4 mora). That may sound trivial but when it comes to songs and poems, the length is sometimes crucial for the format or the rhythm.

Other than that, 似る being a content word, I think it tends to carry more weight and to describe concrete features, compared to function words like みたい and ようだ. みたい and ようだ are more likely to be based on feelings.

Grammatically, you usually use 似ている (or 似ていて) in this context, for the effect comparable to みたい and ようだ. It's not ungrammatical to use 似る (似て) instead, especially in a song, though. I won't go into details because it doesn't seem like the main point here, but try looking up aspect and ている if you are interested.

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