Do you like…? What’s it like? Two different English questions

In this video we look at two meanings of like and fix a common mistake. We’ll compare the verb like with like as a preposition and you’ll learn how to use two useful English questions: Do you like…? and What’s it like?

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Like video script

Did you know the word ‘like’ can be all of these things? Now that can be confusing. In this video we’re going to look at two meanings of ‘like’ and fix a common mistake. Let’s start with ‘like’, the verb.

What are you watching?
Detective Smith.
Oh, I like this programme.

When we enjoy things, we like them.

Happy birthday, Jay.
Oh, thank you. Oh, it’s a bow tie. Oh, thank you! I love it.
Oh I’m so glad you like it.

OK. Now let’s look at another meaning of ‘like’.

Come on, Vick. Let’s go for a run.
Oh no. Do we have to?
Your heart is like a muscle. You have to exercise it.
Oh.

If one thing is like something else, it’s similar. Like is a preposition here, and we use it to talk about things that are similar.

It’s freezing out.
I know, feel my hands. They’re like ice.

Now, now darling. You mustn’t cry any more. Cheer up. Would you like to hear old uncle make a noise like a duck? (duck noises) Well sorry. Hmph.

Now there’s a question that often confuses my students. Do you know what it means?

Hi! Where are you?
I’m in my hotel room.
What’s it like?
It’s fabulous.

Is ‘like’ a verb or a preposition in this question? It’s a preposition. So this question doesn’t mean ‘Do you like it?’ It means what’s it similar to? Describe it for me.

We went to a networking event last night.
Oh, what was it like?
Boring.
It was very useful. There were about a dozen people there and everyone made a short presentation.
I didn’t like it.
Kathy’s not asking if you liked it, Jay. She wants us to tell her about it.
Did you meet any interesting people?
Yes. Well, I did.
I didn’t talk to anybody.

So these are useful questions and they mean tell me what you think. Use them when you want people to describe things. Now here’s an English food product that I like, but most Americans haven’t tried it. I’m going to give some to Jase. Let’s see if he likes it.

Have you ever had marmite before?
No I haven’t. Wow! It’s almost like Nutella or something.
Uhuh. So it’s like a dessert.
Uhuh. Like a… like a chocolate or something. That’s different. It’s erm… almost like beef bouillon, or something. Wow!
What do you think?
It’s pretty powerful stuff.
It is powerful stuff, isn’t it? But all British kids grow up on it.
Wow!
So what’s marmite like? Is it really like a chocolate dessert? No. The taste surprised Jase. Marmite is like beef bouillon.

So Jase, do you ever want to have marmite again.
Erm… Possibly.

Do you think Jase likes it or is he just being polite? Tell us in the comments below.

Click here to watch this video with a clickable transcript.
Click here to learn how to use the phrase looks like
Click here to learn about English sense verbs
Click here to watch more videos about English grammar

2 thoughts on “Do you like…? What’s it like? Two different English questions

  • December 21, 2016 at 6:57 pm
    Permalink

    I say the expression “how is?”.Is better the expression “what’s it like”?

    Reply
  • December 21, 2016 at 8:12 pm
    Permalink

    “How is…?” is often used to ask about health and well being. e.g.
    A: How is your brother?
    B: He’s feeling better, thank you.

    “What … like?” is asking for a description. e.g.
    A: What’s your brother like?
    B: He’s a little taller than me, but he’s not nearly as intelligent or good looking.

    Reply

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