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There is a topic about the differences among "it seems" and "it likes": What is the difference between "it seems" and "it looks like"?

But what about the difference of the "it feels" with the other two ?

  • "It feels" x "It looks" x "It seems"
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"It looks"
"It seems"
. The verb "to seem" is actually the passive of the verb "to see", but has gone beyond sight in use. Both "looks" and "seems" can refer to how something is seen.

The book seems green.
The book looks green.

"Seems" and "feels" can involve touching and imaginings beyond senses:

This cloth seems rough.
This cloth feels rough.
This situation feels dangerous to me.
This situation seems dangerous to me.

"Seems" can refer to hearing,

The note seems flat.
The note sounds flat.

"Seems" can refer to taste:

The tomato seems salty.
The tomato tastes salty.

If there is any doubt as to which, "seems" , "looks" , or "feels" to use, use "seems"; it can serve more meanings than the others.

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There are a few ways to interpret a statement about how something feels:

  • You might be describing a texture's literal feel when you touch it. "Ugh, why does this feel slimy?"
  • You are describing your emotional state. "Being passed over for promotion makes me feel like my work is not valued."
  • You are drawing a conclusion without solid evidence. "I've got a bad feeling about this."

When we describe how something feels, it is usually subjective. That is, we can let someone else "take a look", or ask if something "seems true to them", but they can't verify our feelings. When we describe how something feels, we are asking someone to trust our perspective.

Consider the detective who has interviewed many suspects. They don't yet have enough evidence to prove who is guilty, but they may have a "hunch". This describes the "gut feeling" that a detective develops based on experience and emotional response that drives them to pursue one lead over another. They can't explain it, and they can't close the case until they find something more solid, but people who trust them will let them work the hunch anyway.

Another way to use "feel" is when you're describing something that is "just your opinion", particularly if you intend to be ironic or humorous. https://youtu.be/7ztYFOrxlEw?t=2m25s

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"It feels"

  • when others are feeling internally (inside them) whats happening outside

"It looks"

  • when others are seeing whats happening outside, but it doesn't touch their feelings

"It seems"

  • something happening but you are not sure that your opinion is right about it
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