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?


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.

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


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?


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.


How to learn new words easily using word families

If you want to improve your English it is critical that you have a rich vocabulary. Among other skills, the ability to identify word meanings is extremely important if you want to speak fluently.

Here I am going to share five tips that will help you remember new words and their meanings easily.

Tip # 1

Identify the part of speech of the words you learn. Along with the writing or pronunciation patterns, learning the part of speech can help you remember words and create sentences more easily. The part of speech indicates how the word functions in meaning as well as grammatically within the sentence. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are examples of parts of speech.

Tip # 2

Organize your vocabulary by word families. A word family is a group of words that have a common pattern. Words that belong to the same family have the same combination of letters or a particular sound.  They are an excellent tool to learn and remember words.

Tip # 3

Look for other words that belong to the same family. Most online dictionaries display a list with nearby words or other entries for the word. Look for those entries to find out other words that belong to the same family.

(source: McMillan Essential Dictionaries Magazine, Issue 14, December 2003)

Tip # 4

Write down in your notebook all the words that belong to the same word family. Graphic word organizers are the best. You can draw a table in your notebook or download a super cool word organizer that I have created specially for my students.

Example of word families + parts of speech

Part of the speech  families  

Tip # 5

Write your own examples using each of the words that you add to your notebook or word organizer. It is crucial that you understand the meaning and how to use each word that you learn.

It seems like a lot of work. However, in the long run it will pay off; specially if you are planning to take the IELTS, TOEFL, CELPIP or any Cambridge test.


Let’s practice. Complete the sentences below using the correct word from the table above.

  1. “_____________ is in the eye of the beholder” ~Shakespeare (hint: noun)
  2. Although Maria has been looking for a new job _________, she hasn’t ___________ yet.  (hint: adverb, verb)
  3. John is a very ___________ person. He exercises every day. (hint: adjective)
  4. What’s you final _____________? Are you going to buy the detached house in the suburbs or the condo downtown? (hint: noun)
  5. I’m not going to _______________ such disrespectful behavior! (hint: verb)