ように (youni) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N4]

Author Sandro Maglione for article 'ように (youni) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N4]'

Sandro Maglione

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ように (youni) Meaning Japanese [JLPT N4]

The expression ように (youni) is very versatile and takes on various meanings in different expressions, including seems, similar to, just like, for the purpose of.

Some of the expressions in which ように appears are:

  • のように
  • ようになる
  • ようにする
  • 思うように

Each of these expressions modify and expand the meaning of ように in various situations.

In this post we learn more about the meaning of ように, how it is formed, and when ように is used through real example sentences.


How ように is formed

In its basic form ように means looks like or similar to.

This expression is formed by adding ように after any verb, adjective, or adverb. ように becomes ような when following a noun:

Verb+ように+Verb
Verb+ように+Adjective
Verb+ように+Adverb
Verb+よう++Noun

This usage of ように modifies the verb to indicate an action done just like.... Let's see some examples of conjugations of ように and ような:

10(だい)(もど)ったように(たの)しかった。

It was fun just like being a teenager again.

(そう)(ぞう)できないようなアイディア。

Ideas like you can't imagine.

よう can be found in its kanji form (よう), which is used in formal contexts.

How and when to use ように

As we have seen above, when ように follows any term it adds the meaning of similar to, just like, in the manner of.

ように specifies something that has been done or exists in a particular way.

ように: for the purpose of

Another use of ように is to specify a purpose or objective.

In this sense ように is similar to ために:

  • ために is used with verbs that express one's will to perform an action (volitional form)
  • ように instead does not require the verb in the volitional form

Thus ように is used to express an action done for a specific purpose, and translates as for the purpose of, so as:

Goal(A)+ように+Action(B)
  • What precedes ように is the goal to achieve (A)
  • What follows ように is the action performed to achieve that goal (B)

Let's look at an example sentence:

()(こく)しないように(はや)()きよう。

In order to not be late I will get up early.

  • The purpose is in this sentence is not being late, expressed by ()(こく)しない, which precedes ように
  • To achieve this purpose I will get up early, (はや)()きよう, which follows ように

This structure can also be used when the agent in the (A) and (B) parts of the sentence are different.

In these cases the agent in (A) performs an action or an effort in order to teach, push, motivate the agent in (B) to achieve a certain goal.

Here is also an example to understand this meaning of ように:

(ぶん)(ほう)()かるように、(せん)(せい)()使(つか)った。

In order to explain the grammar, the teacher used images.

The structure of the sentence does not change from the previous example. However, note how in this case the agent is the teacher ((せん)(せい)) who performs an action in order to push the students (second agent) to understand the grammar ((ぶん)(ほう)()かる).

ように for commands and directions

When ように is used towards another person it acts as a command or instruction to tell the way in which a certain action must be performed in order to achieve a certain goal.

The form of the sentence, also in this case, is similar to what we saw previously. In these cases ように can be translated as so that, in a way that:

(こわ)さないように(はこ)んでください。

Transport it so it doesn't break.

From the example we see how we are asked to carry something ((はこ)んでください) but making sure not to break it ((こわ)さない).

In these cases ように can also be used as a form of command, do something as required or requested.

ように at the end of the sentence: hopes and prayers

When ように is found at the end of the sentence it takes the meaning of wish, hope, or even prayer to make something happen (goal).

When ように indicates a prayer it is often preceded by the polite form in ます.

Let's also see an example here:

()(てき)(いち)(ねん)になりますように。

We hope this is a wonderful year.

This expression is often found together with verbs like (いの)っています (to pray) and (ねが)っています (to wish).

のように

ように can be preceded by the particle の when following a noun, forming the expression のように:

Noun++ように

The expression のように is used to modify the noun that precedes it to add the meaning of similar to, like a.

Let's see a simple example:

(ゆめ)のような(せい)(かつ)

A life like a dream.

In this example the noun dream ((ゆめ)) is applied to life ((せい)(かつ)) to indicate a life like a dream.

(きみ)のような(おんな)(ひと)はいない。

There is no woman like you.

(かの)(じょ)(こおり)のように(つめ)たい。

She is cold as ice.


Examples of ように

この(ひと)はやくざのように()える。

That person looks like a gangster.

明日(あした)のテストで(ごう)(かく)できますように。

I hope to pass tomorrow's test.

(せん)(せい)はみんなに()かるように()った。

The teacher said it to make everyone understand.

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