Are these phrase interchangeable? Or are there specific instances when you would use one and not the other? For example: What is the table like? AND What kind of table is this? OR What is the jacket like? AND What kind of jacket is this?
Nov 25, 2014 6:44 PM
Answers · 9
No, I don't think they are. You are asking for different information. If you say 'What's the jacket like?' , the answer might be 'It's nice. It's dark brown wool, with a hood and fur lining. It would suit you.' You are asking for a description and/or a personal opinion. But if you say 'What kind of jacket is it?', you want to know if it's a ski jacket, a waterproof jacket, a cycling jacket, or whether it's a smart jacket or a casual jacket. 'Kind of' suggests that you are looking for some kind of categorisation.
November 25, 2014
When asking what kind of table, the answer might be a dining table, a coffee table, a picnic table, etc. When asking what the table is like, the answer might be that it is big, brown, dirty, etc. And something similar for jackets.
November 25, 2014
The first clear example is that when you add "is this?", I imagine you are looking straight at the table or jacket. Remember, this-here / that-there. It also tells me that perhaps you want to know the maker or brand name of the item. "What's ... like?" is asking for someone else's personal opinion/appraisal of the item. Does the jacket fit? Is he/she happy with the table? I really can't see these phrases as synonyms.
November 25, 2014
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