Practical English : Learn The Usages of How’s…? & What’s…like?

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Learning in-depth the uses of the phrases How is…? and what’s…. like? is very important as with them, we can describe people or things in terms of their appearance, character or behavior. In practical English, these two phrases have huge functions.

The two phrases How is…? and what’s…. like? have lots of applications in our regular formal and casual communication. So let us start learning slowly and steadily on the uses of them.

When & How To Use How is …?

We generally use How is …? to ask about someone’s general health or about the condition or state of something, or how people feel, experience or enjoy something or a situation. To get clear about it, look at the sentences below :

1. A: How’s your mother today? (asking how her general health is)
B: Oh, she’s better now. Even she is taking food regularly. Thanks or thank u (formal).

2. A: How are the walls in the kitchen? (asking to know… What is the condition/state of the walls?)
B : Well, they are in poor state. They really need renovation on urgent basis.

3. A: How’s your new car? (asking to know how you are feeling or how you r enjoying in running it)
B: Fantastic. It’s easier to drive than the previous one.

4. A. How is your new job? (Asking to know how you r going through new job or how you experience it)
B. Oh! It’s nice. It is more relaxing than the former one.

Now it’s your turn! Make some sentences on your own with How’s or How is…? and provide answers.

Uses of What is … like? (Where To Use what’s…. like?) :

The phrase What is … like? is usually used to ask for a description of someone or something (e.g. their appearance, look, character and behavior etc.) :  Look at the sentences given below :

1. A: What’s your new flat like? (asking to know the look or amenities of it)
B: It’s a modern and comfortable. Also it is quite big with a front view garden.

2.. A: What’s your new teacher like? (asking to know how his or her behavior is or what his appearance is)
B: He’s nice. He’s very good-looking! But he’s quite strict.

3. A. What’s your new boss like?
B. Oh! He is tall & tough.

Now practice yourself! Make some questions with ‘What’s…. like? and give answers. 

Attention : Remember that we don’t use the phrase ‘How is … like?’ to ask for a description of something. Look at the following sentence :

A: Have you ever had Korean kimchi?
B: No. What’s it like?
A: Well, it’s sort of spicy fermented vegetables, cabbage and things.

Warning : Do not use How’s it like? in such cases. It’s wrong use.

Final Note : Now that you have gained some knowledge on the usages of ‘How is…? and what’s…. like? so make some sentences yourself. In everyday formal and casual interaction, practice regularly as it is key to getting familiar with them. Over time, hopefully you will able to comfortably overcome related hurdles. Good Luck! 

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