Difference Between Like and Look Like

The word like can have many meanings in English depending on the context. According to the Cambridge Dictionary there are more than 10 different definitions for the word like. It can be a noun, verb, adjective, preposition or conjunction in English.

Most English learners, whether beginners or advanced, struggle when they have to answer questions that include the word like or look like. I’ve found that if we identify the key points about these kind of questions you’ll be able to answer correctly and confidently.

Let’s analyze the following questions:

1. What (noun) do you like?
2. What do you look like?
3. What are you like?

GRAMMAR

Although all the sentences have the word like, the meaning and function of the word like is different in each sentences.

First of all, let’s identify the main verb in each question.

QuestionVerb
1. What (noun) do you like?like
2. What do you look like?look
3. What are you like?be

Now, let’s analyze what part of the speech the word like is in each sentence.

QuestionPart of speech
1. What (noun) do you like?verb
2. What do you look like?preposition
3. What are you like?preposition

MEANING

QuestionMeaning
1. What (noun) do you like?Tell me about your preferences
2. What do you look like?Tell me about your physical appearance
3. What are you like?Tell me about your personality *

*We can also use the same pattern to ask about animals, food, cities, countries, and the weather. For example: What’s the weather like in your country? What was the food like at the party last night? What is your cat like?

EXAMPLES

QuestionAnswer
1. What kinds of movies do you like watching?I love watching romantic movies
2. What was the movie like?It was boring!
3. What does your teacher look like?She’s short. She has short wavy dark hair. She wears glasses.
4. What is your teacher like?She’s fun, patient, kind and helpful.
5. What will be the weather tomorrow?It’ll be cloudy and cold.

Need more practice! Watch the following video.

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