I wondered which is correct one-

  • Not look dangerously

  • Not look dangerous

As look is verb, so adverb dangerously should be used But somewhere I saw Not look dangerous is correct

3 Answers 3


If "look" is used as a linking verb, we need to use adjectives after it, not adverbs (other examples of linking verbs are to be (it is interesting), to sound (it sounds good), to feel (the chair feels soft), to taste (it tastes awful)):

The road looks dangerous.

But it is correct to say, for example:

The road looks dangerously slippery.

That's because "dangerously" modifies "slippery." We still use the adjective after "looks" (it looks slippery), but now there is an extra word before "slippery," making it clear what you think or how you feel about the fact.

Actually, an adverb (e.g "dangerously") can modify "look," so "look" is not always a linking verb:

She is looking at him dangerously (or, for example, closely/carefully/anxiously, etc.)

So, both "(not) look dangerous" and "(not) look dangerously" may be correct. The correctness depends on the structure of your sentence.

  • 2
    But you could also say she looks at him dangerously or I look at you dangerously, where look is not being used as a linking verb, and the adverb is modifying look itself. So, you don't have to have adjectives after it. Commented May 13, 2019 at 3:55
  • @JasonBassford Absolutely. I'll edit my answer.
    – Enguroo
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 3:57
  • Stative verb would be a better label for describing how "look" is used in the first example.
    – chepner
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 13:26

The word “look” can be used in different ways. To find out which use it is, try to substitute “glance” or “appeared”. Only one substitution should work.

He looked carefully at the instructions. You could say “he glanced” carefully at the instructions”. It’s a verb, use the adverb.

He looked dangerous. He appeared dangerous. Use the adjective.

He looked calmly at the dangerous situation. He looked calm in a dangerous situation. The first, you use the adverb calmly (you could substitute glanced but not appeared), the second you use the adjective.


"not look dangerous" is correct.

"dangerous" is the adjective that the subject of the sentence appears to be accurately described as being (i.e. that it looks to be), as in the example "The weapon does not look dangerous." There must be an adjective there, following look. If there is no adjective, then "look" is an action verb, meaning to actively attempt to view something. A knife wouldn't look in that sense; a person would.

Consider the sentence "Quickly look to see if the pizza looks cooked."

In that particular sentence, "look" is an action that the listener is being asked to take, and "looks" is a passive verb used to mean "the pizza" has the appearance of being "cooked".

Often the word "dangerously" appears after the word "look". But it does not modify "look" in most cases. In rare uses, someone might "look dangerously" at someone/something, but this is colorful usage and not meant to be taken literally. (e.g. a provocateur making eye contact with you, suggesting mischief)

Much more usually, dangerously modifies the next word - "The ladders look dangerously flimsy" or "He looked dangerously close to falling"

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