658 - らしい (apparently; it seems that)
This lesson is on:
JLPT N4: らしい (apparently; it seems that)
らしい is used when you have a rash-riddled part of your body that just won't heal.
I'm kidding. It's nothing that terrible.
らしい means something like "apparently" or "it seems that."
リビング から いびき が きこえる。 おとうさん が ひるね を している らしい。
I can hear snoring coming from the living room. Apparently Dad’s taking a nap.
Literally: “living room + from + snoring + が + can be heard. + father + が + nap + を + is doing + らしい.”
おとうさん が ひるね を している。
Dad’s taking a nap.
Literally: “father + が + nap + を + is doing.”
↓ Add らしい ↓
おとうさん が ひるね を している らしい。
Apparently Dad’s taking a nap.
Literally: “father + が + nap + を + is doing + らしい.”
らしい can also be used when quoting information that you got from someone else.
For example, let's say that you and I have a mutual friend named Erika. The other day, Erika told you that her husband is a model.
Today, you tell me:
エリカちゃん の だんな さん は、 モデル らしい よ。
Apparently Erika-chan’s husband is a model.
Literally: “Erika-chan + の + husband-san + は, + model + らしい + よ.”
This seems pretty natural to me, as words like "apparently," "I guess," "it seems that," and so on can also be used in English when quoting what someone else said.
I use らしい for referring to things I heard from people more often than I use そうだ. I used to always use そうだ because that's what I originally learned in textbooks. It's a bit stiff-sounding for everyday conversation, though. For review: [NDL #539] - JLPT N4: そうだ (I hear that).
You should probably review this lesson, too: [NDL #639] - JLPT N3: って ([hearsay marker]).
It's worth noting that らしい is used for judgments or evaluations that you have made based on some kind of objective evidence.
In other words, what you are thinking to be true is based on something that you heard or saw.
You should not use it when guessing something about yourself. For example, maybe it feels like there is a rock in your shoe. You should NOT say:
✖ くつ の なか に、 いし が はいっている らしい。
✖ It seems there's a rock in my shoe.
✖ Literally: “shoe + の + inside + に, + rock + が + is being inside of + らしい.”
In this case, you'd be better off just stating:
くつ の なか に、 いし が はいっている。
There is a rock in my shoe.
Literally: “shoe + の + inside + に, + rock + が + is being inside of.”
But what if I'm not sure that it's a rock that's in my shoe?!
Well, then could say something like:
くつ の なか に、 いし が はいっている みたい。
It seems there is a rock in my shoe.
Literally: “shoe + の + inside + に, + rock + が + is being inside of + みたい.”
We'd be unlikely to use ようだ, I think, since it's not that common in spoken language. Be sure to go back and review these lessons:
- [NDL #644] - JLPT N4: みたいだ (just like)
- [NDL #645] - JLPT N4: ようだ (looks like)
To be honest, in this case, I'd probably just say:
くつ の なか に なんか はいってる。
There's something in my shoe.
Literally: “shoe + の + inside + に + something + is being inside of.”
Rules for Using らしい
The word coming directly before らしい should be in the plain form. For NOUNS and na-adjectives, we don't need to include の or な after them.
In this lesson, we have:
Plain-Form VERB ＋ らしい
NOUN / Na-adjective ＋ らしい
らしい conjugates like an i-adjective. So when it's not at the end of a sentence, you might see things like らしく or らしくて：
きんじょ で なにか じけん が あった らしく、 けいさつ が うち に きた。
Apparently there was some kind of crime in my neighborhood, so the police came to my house.
Literally: “neighborhood + で + something + incident + が + there was + らしく, + police + が + home + に + came.”
You're unlikely to ever see this usage of らしい in past or negative forms (e.g. らしくない、らしかった, etc.). In our next lesson, however, we'll see a different meaning/usage of らしい which does use negative forms like らしくない quite a bit.
Two more examples, and then you'll be finished with this lesson!
うち の いぬ は ハエ を みる と いちもくさん に にげだす。 よほど ハエ が きらい らしい。
Whenever our dog sees a fly, she runs away as fast as she can. Apparently she really hates flies.
Literally: “home + の + dog + は + fly + を + see + and / if + at full speed + に + runs away. + very / greatly + fly + が + disliked / hated + らしい.”
↑ Our dog Stella's deathly fear of flies was the inspiration for this sentence. ^^
Just... one... more...
どうやら さいきん の わかい こ は あまり テレビ を みない らしい です ね。
It seems that young people don’t watch TV that much nowadays.
Literally: “it seems that + these days / recently + の + young + kid + は + not much + TV + を + don’t watch + らしい + です + ね.”