[Deactivated user]
Is it all right to answer the question ''How's...like?'' with words describing physical qualities?! I already know the difference between the two questions ''What does ...look like?'' and ''What's ...like?'' The first question asks for someone's physical appearance whereas the latter aims at one's personality. I've recently come across some examples that are a bit confusing to me. For example, in the following sentence, the answer to the question is not what I would normally expect. - What's she like? - She's short. Am I missing something here?
Jun 16, 2019 10:38 PM
Answers · 5
It depends on the context behind the question, as well as who the speakers are. If being short was for some reason very important (such as recruiting for a basketball team), or extremely notable (she was 3 feet tall), it may be the first answer to the question. It could also just be a very shallow answer, if the person had no other information about the girl.
June 16, 2019
@Teacher Jan I really appreciate your answer. :) @Michael Smith Thank you so much for your thorough explanations. I learned a lot from them.
June 17, 2019
If everything were "what we normally expect" wouldn't life be a little dull ... ? Without knowing the context, commentary is probably going to be pointless, but oh well.. if this was a TV show, it could be humour, or a deliberate insult. In modern times, I'd expect this usage of"short" to be symbolic : "short" is sometimes used to mean abrupt, or rude. It could be used ironically about a tall person who is rude to people. A direct, height-based insult would be regarded as very bad, by most people - except those opposed to "political correctness". And, as an answer, this single word (probably any single word) is not enough to be seen as an adequate response by anybody, if it's taken as a serious answer and not an attempt at humour or insult. I hope this helps. p.s. if you look at the dictionary link below, you will see that "short" has lots of possible meanings. Here, I've written about the meaning listed as "6"; the one listed as "5" is also a possibility. Many English words, confusingly, can have several different meanings, according to context. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/short
June 17, 2019
You're right, Annette. The response, "She's short," isn't entirely appropriate. It could be a joke or a snide remark.
June 16, 2019
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