What is the weather like?

My first question: After looking up in the dictionary, I found that "like" can be used as a preposition, an adverb, a verb. In the above sentence, I think "like" functioning as a preposition is used to ask somebody’s opinion of somebody/something(http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/like_1?q=like%3F). Am I right?

My second question: I think the word "like" in "What is the weather like?" and "what is she like?" mean the same? Am I right?

  • If anyone is curious, there's an episode of Slate's podcast Lexicon Valley that discusses the etymology of this usage of "like" (i.e. "What is ___ like?").
    – Era
    Dec 8 '15 at 22:08

Yes, on both counts. When answering a question like that (see the same use of 'like' there ;-)) literally, substitute the 'what' with the term you desire to use as the simile for the subject of the question. "the weather is like a dream", "she is like a gazelle on crack".

BTW, some folks (probably non-native speakers) confuse the form of "What is/was ... like?" with "How is/was ...?" and add 'like' to the end of the 'how' question. Instead of "Welcome back! How was the weather?" you hear "Welcome back! How was the weather like?"

  • You could also say "Welcome back! What was the weather like?" and that would be correct Sep 10 '15 at 0:54
  • Yes, that second half is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. The expression is either, "What is _____ like?," or "How is _____." NEVER "How is ____ like?"
    – Alex K
    Dec 8 '15 at 22:28

I'd like to add some other stuff:

Some uses of like:
1.— preposition: it's used with a noun or a pronoun to describe similarities.
Example: I'm just like my dad.

2.— conjunction: also used in informal speech.
Example: You don't study like I do.

3.— opinion: share the same thinking.
Example: Like your doctor, I recommend you give up drinking.
(I have the same opinion as your doctor.)

4.— negative clauses: it can change the meaning if placed before or after a negative clause.
Example 1: Like my dad, I'm not good at tennis.
(He's not good and neither am I.)

Example 2: I'm not keen on action films, like my brother.
(My brother likes them but I don't.)

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