Is It “What It Looks Like” or “How It Looks Like”? Understanding the Correct Usage

Marcus Froland

Have you ever found yourself confused between the phrases “What It Looks Like” and “How It Looks Like“? While you are not alone in this common mix-up, understanding the differences between these two expressions in English grammar is crucial to maintaining grammatical correctness in Standard American English. By mastering the use of these phrases and the accompanying interrogative pronouns, you’ll improve your English communication skills and avoid making this frequent mistake.

Introduction to Common English Phrases

Common English phrases can often be a source of confusion, particularly for those who are learning the language. The distinction between “What It Looks Like” and “How It Looks Like” is an example of this confusion. The correct use of interrogative pronouns such as “what” for detailed descriptions and “how” for value judgments is fundamental. Understanding the rules and structures around these phrases is important for non-native speakers, and common usage is typically the best guide for correct expression.

Mastering common English phrases and their proper usage is crucial for effective communication in any context. By familiarizing yourself with common expressions and their meanings, you can better understand and connect with English speakers.

Let’s explore some essential tips for learning these rules:

  1. Focus on learning the function and purpose of each phrase.
  2. Practice using the phrases in context to solidify your understanding.
  3. Observe native speakers and take note of the phrases they use in different situations.
  4. Regularly review and test your knowledge of common phrases.

Now, let’s examine some of the most frequently used phrases by English speakers:

Common Phrases Meaning and Usage
How are you? A common greeting that inquires about a person’s well-being.
What’s the matter? Asking about the cause of concern or distress.
Can you help me? Requesting assistance with a task or problem.
How do I get to…? Seeking directions to a specific location.
What do you think? Soliciting someone’s opinion or input.

As non-native speakers, understanding common English phrases and their proper usage is not only helpful for everyday conversation but also for advancing your overall grasp on the language. Familiarizing yourself with these phrases will allow you to communicate more confidently and effectively in both personal and professional settings. So, invest time and effort into mastering these expressions as they are an essential aspect of English language learning.

Exploring the Grammar Behind “What It Looks Like”

In English grammar, “like” is a preposition that warrants the use of a noun or pronoun as its object. The phrase “What It Looks Like” adheres to this grammar rule by employing the interrogative pronoun “What” as the object of the preposition “like”. In contrast, “How It Looks Like” disrupts this rule by positioning the adverb “how” after the preposition “like”, which leads to grammatical inaccuracy.

Why “What” Is the Right Choice

As a preposition, “like” demands a noun or pronoun as its object, making “What” the appropriate choice in the construction of “What It Looks Like”. This is because “What” acts as a noun when functioning as the object of the preposition “like”. Conversely, “how” cannot fulfill the noun’s role after a preposition since it is an adverb, thus rendering the construction “How It Looks Like” grammatically incorrect.

Examples in Context

Consider these example sentences with correct usage of the phrase:

  1. What does eggplant taste like?
  2. What does a foghorn sound like?
  3. What does the Grand Canyon look like?

In these sentences, the interrogative pronoun “What” elicits noun-based, descriptive responses. By exploring the various contexts involving the senses, these examples effectively demonstrate the appropriate application of “What” in combination with the preposition “like”.

Prepositions and Their Objects

Prepositions are words that typically indicate relationships between other words in a sentence. Examples of prepositions in English include “on”, “of”, “with”, and “like”. The word following a preposition is called the object of the preposition.

For example, in “on the table”, “on” is the preposition, and “table” is its object.

Prepositions necessitate nouns as their objects, and “What It Looks Like” conforms to this structure because “What” serves as a noun. Inappropriately positioning the adverb “How” after the preposition “like”, as in “How It Looks Like”, violates the established sentence structure. Consequently, it is essential to understand the linguistic nuances of prepositions and their objects to ensure correct usage of similar phrases in English grammar.

The Incorrect Phrase: “How It Looks Like”

There are many incorrect English phrases that commonly find their way into both native and non-native speakers’ vocabularies, often leading to language mistakes. One such phrase is “How It Looks Like“. This phrase is considered incorrect because it improperly combines “how”, which is an interrogative adverb, with “like”, a preposition that should be followed by a noun. The correct phrases to use when seeking descriptive information or expressing a general value judgement are “What It Looks Like” and “How It Looks“, respectively.

“How It Looks Like” is an incorrect phrase that results from the inappropriate combination of an adverb with a preposition.

Using proper English usage is crucial for clear and effective communication, and understanding the difference between these phrases can significantly improve your language skills. The following table demonstrates some common errors and their correct alternatives:

Incorrect Phrase Correct Alternative Type of Information Sought
How It Looks Like What It Looks Like Descriptive information
How It Seems Like What It Seems Like Descriptive information
How It Tastes Like What It Tastes Like Descriptive information

By becoming aware of these common errors and replacing them with the correct phrases, you’ll be well on your way to mastering proper English usage and avoiding language mistakes.

  1. Choose the correct phrase based on the type of information you are seeking: descriptive information with “What It Looks Like” or general value judgments with “How It Looks”.
  2. Remember that “how” functions as an interrogative adverb and should not be followed by “like”, a preposition.
  3. Practice with correct examples to familiarize yourself with the appropriate usage of “What It Looks Like” and “How It Looks”.

Understanding “How” in English Questions

Asking questions in English is a vital skill in everyday communication. Knowing how and when to use the interrogative word “How” can significantly impact the clarity and effectiveness of your queries. In this section, we’ll explore the proper usage of “How” in English questions and its role in conveying adjectives and adverbs to describe manner or quality.

How” is commonly employed in questions to request information about the manner or quality of an action, performance, or appearance. Unlike “What”, which anticipates a noun-based answer, “How” questions generally elicit answers containing adjectives or adverbs. These answers provide value judgments or describe the manner in which something is done, rather than offering detailed descriptions.

“How does she sing?” – The expected answer might include adverbs or adjectives such as “beautifully” or “passionately”.

Let’s review some examples of “How” questions and their typical answers:

  1. How did the concert go? – Great, it was a sold-out show.
  2. How does he look? – Tired, he must have been working all day.
  3. How do you feel? – Much better, thanks for asking.

As seen in the examples above, “How” questions primarily seek value judgments or assessments on the quality, condition, or manner of an aspect.

Question Type Interrogative Word Expected Answer
Asking for a descriptive noun What Noun-based answers (e.g., detailed descriptions)
Asking for information about manner or quality How Adjective or adverb-based answers (e.g., value judgments)

Understanding the proper usage of “How” in English questions is essential for clear communication. By recognizing that “How” seeks adjectives and adverbs that express value judgments or describe manners, you can ensure you’re using the right interrogative word when asking questions in English.

Distinguishing Between “How It Looks” and “What It Looks Like”

One common challenge that English language learners face is distinguishing between phrases that seem similar but have different meanings. Two of these phrases are “How It Looks” and “What It Looks Like.” The key difference between the two lies in the type of information they are intended to elicit.

Asking for Descriptions versus Value Judgments

Using the correct interrogative pronouns is crucial when asking questions in English because these pronouns determine the type of response you might receive. Let’s explore the difference between asking for descriptive information and soliciting value judgments with “What It Looks Like” and “How It Looks.”

  • “How It Looks”: This phrase asks for a general assessment or value judgment, often in the form of a single adjective. Example: “How does the painting look?” A typical response might be “good,” “bad,” or “surprising.”
  • “What It Looks Like”: In contrast, this phrase requests a specific or detailed description that tends to involve more illustrative language or multiple descriptors. Example: “What does the new building look like?” A possible answer could be “The building has blue windows, a brick facade, and a rooftop garden.”

Remember, “How It Looks” seeks a general assessment or value judgment, while “What It Looks Like” requests a detailed description.

Understanding these nuances will make it easier for you to select the appropriate phrase depending on the information you’re seeking. This distinction is essential for effective communication and achieving your desired outcome when asking questions in English.

Correcting Common Mistakes with “How” and “What”

Misconceptions related to “How” and “What” are prevalent among both native and non-native English speakers. Errors such as “How It Looks Like” arise from misunderstandings or incomplete knowledge of English language rules. Recognizing that “What” should accompany “like” for detailed descriptions and that “How” is used for more general inquiries or statements without “like” is key to using these interrogatives correctly.

Misconceptions Among Native and Non-Native Speakers

Common English errors occur among all levels of language proficiency. To increase your understanding of proper English usage, it’s essential to identify these language misconceptions and strive for accuracy when speaking English. Here are some common misunderstandings involving the misuse of “How” and “What”:

  • Using “How” before the preposition “like” instead of “What”
  • Assuming “How” and “What” are interchangeable in interrogative sentences
  • Not distinguishing between requests for descriptions or value judgments

To overcome these misconceptions, you can practice the following steps:

  1. Learn the grammatical structures: Understand the appropriate pairing of “What” with the preposition “like” and the usage of “How” without “like”.
  2. Practice with examples: Use correct examples in context to solidify your understanding of the appropriate usage of “How” and “What”.
  3. Ask for feedback: Request feedback from native speakers or language teachers to identify areas in need of improvement.

Addressing these common language misconceptions and improving your accuracy in speaking English will help you communicate more effectively with others.

Practical Tips for Mastering English Phraseology

Excellent command of English phraseology is essential for effective communication. Here are some practical language tips to help you master English and navigate its complexities with ease:

  1. Practice with correct examples: Surround yourself with authentic English materials, such as books, news articles, podcasts, and movies. This exposure ensures you’re learning from proper usage and reinforces your understanding of correct phraseology.
  2. Note the contexts in which phrases are used: By observing how native speakers use different expressions in various situations, you can learn to apply phrases correctly when needed. For example, understanding when to use “What It Looks Like” versus “How It Looks” is crucial in forming clear and appropriate questions.
  3. Understand the function of interrogative pronouns: Learn about the roles of “what,” “how,” “which,” “who,” and “where” in English grammar. By doing so, you can determine the appropriate pronoun to use in your questions and statements.
  4. Consistently apply grammar rules: Becoming familiar with English grammar rules helps you construct questions and statements accurately. Regular practice of these rules allows you to internalize them and use them instinctively in speech and writing.

In combination, these strategies build a strong foundation for mastering English phraseology.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.” – Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur and motivational speaker

Remember, improvement comes with practice and consistency. So, dedicate yourself to applying these language tips, and you’ll be well on your way to mastering English and becoming a confident, effective communicator.

Conclusion: Simplifying Complex English Language Rules

English language learning can be quite challenging due to the seemingly complex rules and numerous exceptions. However, by paying attention to the proper use of phrases like “What It Looks Like” and “How It Looks”, you can significantly simplify the process of mastering English grammar. Becoming familiar with these correct expressions will not only enhance your language proficiency but also help you avoid common mistakes that often lead to misunderstandings.

One of the keys to success in English language learning is understanding the function of prepositions, as well as the roles of interrogative pronouns like “what” and “how”. By learning how these components work together, you can form grammatically correct questions and statements with confidence. Remember to practice with accurate examples, note the contexts in which phrases are used, and apply grammar rules consistently to make your English communication more effective.

In summary, don’t be discouraged by the complexities of English language rules. Break them down into manageable bits, and focus on mastering essential components such as prepositions and interrogative pronouns. With consistency and dedication, you will definitely improve your fluency and proficiency in the English language.