Not everything what appears so is chocolate.

I am not sure if the sentence above is OK. Does it make sense to a native speaker?

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    – ColleenV
    Jul 20, 2018 at 22:38

2 Answers 2


I am a native speaker of American English. I can figure out what the example sentence means, but the sentence does not sound natural to me.

As dwilli pointed out,

Not everything that appears to be chocolate is chocolate.

is a more natural way of expressing the thought. Another option is:

Not everything that looks like chocolate is chocolate.

The latter option is slightly different from the other two options. "Looks like" implies "has a visual resemblance" more strongly than "appears to be". "Appears to be" can also refer to other senses, such as smell, hearing, or touch.


To summarize the discussion on this question, the answer is yes, the sentence makes sense to a native speaker.

The way we understand it is that the word 'what' is a colloquial substitution for 'that'. A much simpler way to understand the meaning of the sentence might be.

Not everything that appears to be chocolate is chocolate.

It might have been intended as a play on a more common idiomatic saying

Not all that glitters is gold.

The usage of 'what' in the example would be heard particularly from speakers of cockney English, which is a dialect from London. In movies and popular understanding pirates from the 18th century often are depicted using the the same construction, so it has become a stereotypical idea of how pirates talked.

  • Good point. I thought that was a complicated construction for an English learner. I've changed my answer to clarify my intent with that example.
    – dwilli
    Jul 22, 2018 at 1:31

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