| Original message (2462 Views )
Red Carpet Executive Member
| "Re(1):Doubt" , posted Sat 8 Apr 09:17:|
A little bit off-topic, but could a native speaker of English tell me if there is any difference between asking:
*How is something?
*What is something like?
An English teacher I had said that the former question was related to the health/mood of a person and that it was unusual to use it for things and the latter is asking a thing's description.
Is this right or wrong?
Both are context sensitive.
The former can certainly be used to ask for a description of something.. but it usually implies some sort of opinion in the perspective.
"How goes the war?"
- "It goes well."
"How's the game?"
- "Awful; they're losing 3-0!"
- "I love it, it's so much fun!"
"How's it going?"
- "It sucks."
"How's the food?"
- "Awesome, I love it."
- "Awful, it's overcooked!"
The second one is asking for a description, but that doesn't mean that it won't involve someone's opinion.
"What's the game like?"
- "The game's more or less like KOF."
- "It's like warmed-over sewage."
"What's the food like?"
- "It's similar to Brazillian BBQ, which means it's a festival of MEAT."
There are some slangy uses which aren't really grammatically correct/proper, but you'll hear all the time, e.g.
"What's it like to have hemorrhoids?"
- "It sucks." <-- not correct, but common enough
- "It's like having the raw feeling you have when someone tears duct tape off your skin accompany you all day long."
[this message was edited by Spoon on Sat 8 Apr 09:19]