In some situations like you lost your friend in the crowd or you ask about a new friend who you're going to meet later in a party, we would ask a question to know their appearances (i.e. height, clothes, hair color etc.) to help us recognize them.

I read a article to explain the difference among these three as below.

  1. How does she look? --> (Positive) She is beautiful and tall.
  2. What does she look like?-->(Negative) She looks short and heavy.
  3. What is she like?-->(Negative and only for Personality) She is mean.

If those three are true, only number 1 can be used to ask??? Could any native English speaker share your opinions? Thanks!

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure you're interpreting that article correctly.

How does she look? is a question you ask if you want to know if a person is attractive or not. The attraction could be physical, but it could refer to any kind of attractiveness, e.g., as a job applicant. It could also refer to a person's level of grooming -- whether he or she is neatly-dressed or unkempt. The response to the question could be positive or negative, of course: "She looks great!" or "She looks terrible!"

What does she look like? is what you would ask someone if you have never met this person and want to know physical details about her. (By the way, "short and heavy" is attractive to some people!) There is no positive or negative connotation with this question, either. Example response: "She is very tall and has a giant mole on the tip of her nose."

What is she like? is as you describe it, a question about someone's personality traits. But it can also be used to describe physical mannerisms. Example response: "She has a sweet personality, but she burps a lot."

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