Look like, Be like and Be alike – the preposition like

Look like, Be like and Be alike – we can use all these phrases to say things are similar. Do you know how to use them correctly?

In this video we’ll look at ways we commonly use the preposition like and fix a common mistake. You’ll also learn how you can use ‘like’ with lots of other sense verbs too. Wow! That’s going to expand your vocabulary!

Click here to learn when to use watch look or see
Click here to learn the difference between like the preposition and like the verb
Click here to learn more about English sense verbs

Look like, Be like, Alike video script

Is it lunch time yet?
Yeah, I feel like a sandwich.
That’s funny.
Why?
You don’t look like a sandwich.

‘Look’,‘like’, look like! You’ll often hear these words used together in English. In this lesson we’re going to check how to use them correctly and fix some common mistakes. So what does ‘like’ mean?

I like flowers.

When we like things they give us pleasure. But ‘like’ is a verb here. It’s not the meaning we’re going to look at today. Forget it. We’re going to look at ‘like’ the preposition.
I made another video about ‘like’ some time ago and I’ll put a link to it here. It’s very simple so you might want to watch it first. In this video we’re going to move up a step.
So ‘like’ the preposition – What does it mean?

This is our house. And this is our neighbour’s house. Our house is like our neighbour’s house. They’re not exactly the same but they’re very similar.

If two things are similar, they are like each other. Use like to say things are similar. Now you can also say ‘looks like’.

Our house looks like our neighbour’s house.

When do we say ‘is like’ and when do we say ‘looks like’? ‘Looks like’ is more specific. It’s only about physical appearance.
Here are the question forms. ‘What’s it like?’ means tell me about it. ‘What does it look like?’ means describe its appearance.

Have you seen my torch?
Your what?
My torch.
What does it look like?
It’s about this long and it’s red.
Ha1, ha. You mean your flashlight.
Yeah, my torch!

Now I’ve heard some students say ‘How does it look like?’ Don’t say that – it’s wrong. If you’re asking about physical appearance, say ‘what’. ‘What does it look like?’
Here’s another example.

Here’s a video of our granddaughter.
Oh she’s adorable. She looks like you.
Oh. She loves putting things in her mouth. Just like Jay.

So she looks like me. Her appearance and my appearance are similar.
And she’s just like Jay. Do they look similar? I don’t think so. The point is they behave in a similar way. They have another quality that’s similar.

OK, the next item on the agenda is the new employee.
Tell me about Philip.
Oh he’s very friendly and very bright. I think he’ll do well.
But he’s a Chicago Cubs fan.
That’s not the point, Jay. Kathy wants to know what he’s like.
Well, he’s six foot tall and he has brown hair.
She knows what he looks like.
I’m not interested in his appearance. What’s he like as a person?
Well he’s a Chicago Cubs fan.
So?
Well, they’re never gonna win the world series.
He’s not very smart.

So these questions mean slightly different things. Which one means ‘give me your opinion of him?’. This one. And which one means ‘describe his physical appearance’? This one. Great!
Now there’s an important grammar pattern that you need to follow. After ‘look’ we generally use an adjective. But after ‘look like’, we don’t. We always use a noun or noun phrase. Let’s look at some examples.

This guy looks serious. And this guy looks a bit goofy. This guy looks impatient, or maybe worried. And this guy looks bored.
But this guy looks like he’s having fun. And this guy – wow – he looks like a chicken!

So after ‘look’ we use adjectives. All these words are adjectives. But ‘looks like’ is different. You can’t say he looks like serious or he looks like worried. These sentences are wrong. After looks like, use a noun or a noun phrase.
Let’s check you’ve understood? Here are four sentences, but one of them is wrong. Which one? Can you spot it? It’s the third one. Adorable is an adjective. After ‘looks like’, you have to use a noun.
Great!
Our house and our neighbour’s house are alike.
When two or more things are the same or very similar you can say they are alike.

I hate all men. You’re all alike.
No, not all of us.
OK, so maybe you’re better than most. Maybe not.

So which man was it? Let me see.
So what do you think? It’s very hard. They all look alike!

So let’s review.
You can say one thing is like another – they share similar qualities
You can say one thing looks like another – they have the same physical appearance
And there’s a pattern to follow. After ‘look’, use an adjective. And after ‘look like’, use a noun.
And that’s it. Now you know how to use ‘look’ with ‘like’.
Now there’s one more thing that’s very cool. ‘Look’ is just one of a group of sense verbs you can combine with ‘like’ and they all work the same way.
Just follow the basic pattern and there are lots more expressions that you can use. It’s great!
So let’s finish with a couple of examples? Which sense verbs are used with ‘like’ in this conversation?

What’s orange and sounds like parrot? Carrot. A carrot rhymes with parrot. Ha! Come on.
Jay, we’re trying to work.
What’s red and smells like blue paint? Red paint. Get it? Red paint. Ha!
Jay, I’ve got one for you.
Yeah?
What’s loud and sounds like shut up?
I don’t know, what?
Shut up.

Can I tell them to hit the subscribe button now?
Yeah, go on. Subscribe! Subscribe!

Click here to learn when to use watch look or see
Click here to learn the difference between like the preposition and like the verb
Click here to learn more about English sense verbs
Click here to download Fix it – our free checklist that will help you avoid common mistakes.

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