Teach and Learn English

Pytania z LIKE - Confusing questions with LIKE

As you can already see in the title of the post I have called those questions 'confusing'. That is probably the best word to describe the three questions that use verb LIKE in such a different way that the meaning of it becomes different too. I have hardly ever met a student who actually could produce the three questions correctly in the meaning and context designed for it. Let's see what the questions are...

1. What does Mark LIKE? – a question about preferences and likes/dislikes

In Polish we would say 'Co lubi Marek?' Here – verb LIKE is the main verb in the sentence.

'What does Mark like?'
'He likes potatoes and pork chops.' (no judgment ;))

'Co lubi Marek?'
'Lubi ziemniaki i kotlety schabowe.'

Of course, this question can be built in different tenses:

'What did your grandma like? Did she like gardening?'
'I wonder what will my daughter like. Will she like potatoes and pork chops when she grows up?' ;)
'Have you always liked this type of music? I don't remember you listening to such music before.'

2. What does Mark LOOK LIKE? – a question about somebody's appearance/looks

In Polish we would ask 'Jak wygląda Marek?' Verb LIKE in this question is, differently than in the above one, the object of verb LOOK. (ok, ok... the object is 'dopełnienie' ;)

'What does Mark look like?'
'He is tall and slim.'

'Jak wygląda Marek?'
'Jest wysoki i szczupły.' (pomimo, że je ziemniaki i schabowe... ;))

And as well, we can use different tenses to build this type of a question:

'What did she look like?'
'Oh, you know – she was an average-looking lady in her seventies.'
'What is the conference room going to look like in the new office? Is it going to be bigger than the old one?
What should the policy of the company look like in the future?'

3. What IS Mark LIKE? – a question about character/personality or characteristics

It would be 'Jaki jest Marek?' in Polish. Pay attention to the fact that in this question we have verb TO BE which is the main verb here. Verb LIKE is also an object here – of the verb TO BE. I find this question most confusing among students, especially when they want to ask 'Jakie to jest?' and what they usually produce is 'How is it?' which means 'Jak jest?' Well, the correct version is of course 'What is it like?' or 'What's it like?'

'What is Mark like?'
'He is nice and very sociable.'

'Jaki jest Marek?'
'Jest miły i bardzo towarzyski.'

Once again, we can use different tenses to construct such a question:

'What was it like to be a teacher 30 years ago? Was it more difficult or easier?'
'What's the test going to be like? Difficult or easy?'
'What has been the policy of the company like so far?'
'What will be the new conditions of the contract like next year?'

Hmm... I hope I made things clearer and did not confuse them more for you ;)
If you need to get some practice with the above questions, feel free to do the following exercises...

1. Think about your best friend, brother or sister or somebody close to you. Having them on mind answer the following questions about them:

  • What is he/she like?
  • What does he/she like?
  • What does he/she like doing in their free time?
  • What does he/she look like?
Now think about your place of work or home and answer these questions:
  • What is your office/home/house/apartment like? 
  • What does your office/home/house/apartment look like?
  • What do you like about your office/home/house/apartment?
2. Put the words in the right order to build questions:

  • is/What/like/it/?
  • new/like/is/boss/What/your/?
  • your/was/What/after/your/ex-wife/like/relation/with/divorce/the/?
  • going/What/again/living/be/to/it/is/like/own/my/on/?
  • you/child/reading/a/like/were/What/when/did/you/?
  • new/in/the/on/to/the/office/Does/manager/us/like/be/time/?
  • to/the/all/Do/you/told/do/what/time/like/be/to/?
  • contract/What/the/does/like/look/?
  • did/office/renovation/like/before/look/the/What/the/?
  • like/hair/treatment/after/my/Will/hair/the/yours/look/?

3. Translate the following questions into English:

  • Jaka jest dziś pogoda?
  • Lubisz swojego nauczyciela od angielskiego?
  • Co twój pies lubi jeść?
  • Jak będzie wyglądał ten dom kiedy oni się wyprowadzą?
  • Chciałem zapytać jak będzie dalej wyglądała nasza współpraca?
  • Zastanawiałem się jaki będzie odbiór mojej prezentacji.
What is it like?
What is your new boss like?
What was your relation with your ex-wife like after the divorce?
What is it going to be like living on my own again?
What did you like reading when you were a child?
Does the new manager like us to be on time in the office?
Do you like to be told what to do all the time?
What does the contract look like?
What did this office look like before the renovation?
Will my hair look like yours after the treatment?
What's the weather like today?
Do you like your English teacher?
What does your dog like eating/to eat?
What will this house look like when they move out/have moved out?
I wanted to ask what our cooperation will/is going to look like next?
I was wondering what the reception of my presentation would be like?


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