0

This site says:

Here the How…? form is sometimes associated more with positive features and the What...like? form more with neutral or negative features:

How does she look? ~ Fantastic! That outfit really suits her.

What does she look like? ~ As if she hasn't bought any new clothes in the last twenty years.

Would you think there is a distinction between "How do..look" & "What do..look like"?

  • This US English speaker doesn't really think there's much of a distinction like that. It seems like a really artificial distinction that doesn't match up with how people actually speak. I can easily imagine a conversation like "How does he look? Not good. I don't think he will survive until tomorrow." Or "What does she look like? She's a tall, attractive woman who dresses in the latest fashions." – stangdon Mar 16 '17 at 16:13
2

"How does X look?" is for value judgments, negative or positive. "How does she look?" "Just awful!"

"What does X look like?" is asking for a physical description, not an opinion of the overall look. "What does she look like?" "She's a tall, dark woman in a black dress."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.