Correct Usages Of How’s…? & What’s…like?


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Many of us in general might face difficulty when it comes to describing things or people in terms of their appearance, character or behavior. But there is nothing much to worry about. In English, with the proper use of How is…? and what’s…. like?, these issues can easily be overcome. 

These two phrases has lots of applications in our everyday formal and casual communication. So let us start slowly and steadily. 
When 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 following :

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.

Your Work! Make some sentences on your own with How’s or How is…? and Give answers. 

Now see the Uses of What is … like?

We use What is … like? to ask for a description of someone or something (e.g. their appearance, character and behavior everything) : 

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 or what his appearance is)
B: He’s nice. He’s very good-looking! But he’s quite strict.
2. A. What’s your new boss like?
B. Oh! He is tall & tough.

Now It’s Your Turn! Make some questions with ‘What’s … like? and give answers. 

Attention : Remember that we don’t use 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 is it like? in such cases. It’s wrong use.

Now you can try on your own and use how’s…? and what’s… like? in everyday formal and casual interaction. Practice regularly as it is key and get familiar with them. Over time, hopefully you will able to comfortably overcome related hurdles. Good Luck! 

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