4 linking verb to seem; to appear
+noun: That looks an interesting book.You made me look a complete fool! (OALD)

For linking verb, look, can have NP complements (OALD,#4), I thought '[A] what does she look like?’ can be altered into '[B] what does she look?’ without meaning change. But I can’t find any cases of that in COCA. Looking up the expressions in the web site, I get the feeling that when we just say without the preposition ‘like’, it would give the ambiguousness of whether it could be interpreted as seeing, seeking, or seeming etc. Can’t we ever use [B] expression at all?

  • 2
    No, you can't.. Well, okay, maybe if your friend was talking and said something like, "Wow, look at that girl she looks ... <and just trails off without finishing their sentence because maybe they just realized that girl is your sister>" You might follow up with, "What? What does she look?"
    – Jim
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 5:23

1 Answer 1


I would probably say that it's archaic and outdated - if you look at BNC (which goes back a bit further, there are 217 occurences of look ARTICLE NOUN. There are more in GloWBE.

Looking at those, of those that fit your model, they seem to be distributed around the late 80s to early 90s, and specifically, for look a fool, it seems to occur in BrE far, far more often than the others. This is a trend for these constructions.

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