“What does it look like” or “How does it look like”


While you might hear people asking How does it look like? or How does he look like?, this form is not considered correct grammatically. You don’t need to add any extra prepositions to the word “How”. The correct question is:

  • How does it look?

Use the How… look? question if you would like to find out about the condition or state of something or someone.

For example, if you realize that the bench you sat down on has fresh paint on it and you are worried it ruined your trousers, you can stand up and ask your friend:

  • How does it look? Is it really bad?

Similarly, if you’re asking How does he/she look?, you would like to know whether the person is OK or not:

  • How does Jessica look? I haven’t seen her since the accident.
  • She looks much better now.

Use the What… look like? question when you would like to get a general description of something or someone:

  • What does your new IT teacher look like? Does he wear checked shirts?
  • He’s really tall and handsome and he usually wears a suit.
  • I hear you caught a strange fish. What did it look like?
  • It was orange with purple spots and it had an enormous mouth.

The same logic is used when asking questions with What/like and How (without the word “look”):

  • How’s Jessica? (Is she OK?)
  • What’s Jessica like? (Please describe her.)
  • How’s your new car? (Is it good or bad? How do you like it?)
  • What’s your new car like? (Please describe it. Is it big or small, old or new etc.?)

To learn more about how questions are formed, read How to Form Questions in English?

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