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It sounds like that she started cooking

versus

It sounds like she started cooking.

1- Are these the same or different? 2- Are they complex sentences?

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  • Neither is correct. You would say "It sounds as though she started cooking".
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 8:02
  • "It sounds like she started cooking at the same time as the kids arrived home." what about this sentence?
    – nanu1
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 8:23
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    @Chenmunka - I don't know if it's "correct", but the second one would be completely unremarkable to this NYC US English speaker, at least in informal speech.
    – stangdon
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 11:33
  • Could you tell me are they complex sentences or not?
    – nanu1
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:28
  • It depends how your textbook defines a "complex sentence": this is not a standard term in grammar with a specific definition.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 15:37

2 Answers 2

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[1]* It sounds like [that she started [cooking]].

[2] It sounds like [she started [cooking]].

[1] is ungrammatical because with prepositional governors such as "like", only non-expandable content clauses are permitted, i.e. the subordinator "that" is inadmissible here.

[2] is a complex sentence for it has an independent clause (the sentence as a whole) and two embedded subordinate clauses consisting of a content clause (in outer brackets) and an embedded gerund-participial clause (in inner brackets).

(Note that if "cooking" is interpreted as a noun, which is possible, then there is only one subordinate clause).

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Both "like" and "that" can function as subordinating conjunctions.  Using both to introduce a single subordinate clause is an error. 

"That" doesn't co-locate well with the verbs "sounds" and "looks", although it appears regularly alongside similar verbs such as "appears" and "seems". 

Yes, "It sounds like she started cooking." is a complex sentence.  There is a subordinate clause contained within another clause.  "She started cooking" could stand as a sentence on its own, but "like she started cooking" needs something to modify.  In this case, it acts as a predicative adjectival subject complement, modifying the dummy subject as licensed by the copular verb. 

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  • Thanks for your answer. "It sounds like that she started cooking". This sentence wrong because I use like and that both in the place of conjunction. Am I right? And could you please tell me It sounds means it looks right?
    – nanu1
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 13:50
  • Yes and yes. "It sounds like she started cooking" is a perfectly natural and unremarkable sentence. I'd happily use it myself. I wouldn't use "it sounds that she started cooking", but both "it seems that she started cooking" or "it seems like she started cooking" are fine. Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:00
  • "It sounds" means?
    – nanu1
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:30
  • Here, to make noise, to produce some sound. "It sounds like she started cooking" means something like "the noise resembles that she started cooking". Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:40
  • @nanu1 It could be literal. You might see her go into the kitchen, then hear cupboard doors open and shut, then hear the sound of oil heating up. When you hear the oil splattering, you might say that "it sounds like she started cooking". You can also use sounds to refer to where a story leads. E.g. your friend tells you that someone ('she') spent a lot of time on the laundry, but then she saw that it was getting close to dinnertime. When your friend says that 'she' disappeared into the kitchen, you could say "it sounds like she started cooking", referring to your friend's story.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 14:42

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