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“Seems Like” VS “Looks Like”: Difference Explained

“Seems Like” VS “Looks Like”: Difference Explained

Grammar is a structure of language which has its own rules set around the in16th century. By the 19th century, prescriptivism was introduced by Richard M. Hare when people started to follow the rules of how the English language should be spoken and written.

Grammar consists of morphology and syntax that structures words in such a way that the user of a language can convey his needs and wants. It helps a user to express themselves and for the person, who’s conversing with the user, to understand in what context a user is speaking.

“Seems like” and “Looks like” both express the thought of probability and they’re both grammatically correct. The only difference is that “Looks like” is used when there’s visual evidence that backs up the probability.

Keep reading to know more.

What Does “Seems Like” Mean?

The word “seem” is a verb and is frequently used when talking about something that ‘seems’ to be true, is likely to happen or there is a probability of it happening. Just the way I used it in my previous sentence, “…that seems to be true…”

We join “seem” with “like” and use this pattern when we have a reason or some sort of evidence for why we feel like something can happen.

For example:

  • It seems like it will be raining all night

Evidence: The sky has black clouds or it has been confirmed by the weather reporter who himself detected it through satellites.

  • He seems like a nice guy to me

Evidence: He must have done something nice or given ‘nice guy’ feelings off himself.

  • Those two girls seem like siblings

Evidence: They might have similar face features or must have directed each other as sisters.

  • This restaurant seems like a good place to dine in.

Evidence: It is likely for the restaurant to have a welcoming and comfortable interior and sitting.

Using the first person’s pronoun “I” with the word “seem like” is not a usual occurrence but sometimes it is uttered naturally like in the sentences below.

  • If I seem like I was being rude then forgive me.
  • If I seem like I was ignoring you then you have misunderstood.
  • If I seem like I am going to scream then yes, I am angry.
  • If I seem like I am interested in you then I’m sorry to mislead you. 

“Seem like” can be used in the past tense as well as in the examples below.

  • It didn’t seem like she was crying at all.
  • They don’t seem like trustworthy tenants.
  • They didn’t seem like they are enjoying themselves here.
  • He didn’t seem like he will be leaving anytime soon.

Now we will see the use of “seem like” in actual real conversations between people.

  • (1) Let’s get something to eat from the cafeteria

(2) It “seems like” the bell will ring soon.

  • (1) It isn’t funny anymore; we can go for a walk.

(2) Yes, but it seems like it is going to rain anytime now.

  • (1) The teacher isn’t coming to school today.

(2) It seems like we’ll get a free period then.

  • (1) There was a kidnapping in the neighborhood.

(2) Oh really? It seems like security will be getting tighter around this society.

Using “seems like” is grammatically correct and can be used in form of euphemism, when you don’t want to sound rude like examples below

  • It seems like you’re doing it incorrectly
  • Seems like you were unable to understand this concept

“Seems like” is a very widely and frequently used verb structure during conversations. There is proof that clearly demonstrates the regular use of this word.

Is It Correct to Say “Looks Like”?

A girl thinking about the right usage of grammar
Grammar is the set of rules for the language user

“Look” is a verb, a synonym of “seem”, which means something that appears to be.

When “look” is joined with “like” as an adjective then it makes “looks like” which is used for probable occasions and often used informally.

We can say that “looks like” comes under high-frequency words and users often find new words to appeal to their audience like appears that, seems like, sounds like, etc.

It is also safe to say that it is a very common phrase to use during conversations for example:

  • Looks like she will be staying in her room all night
  • Looks like it’s going to rain any soon
  • It looks like we need more flour for the cake
  • Sarah looks like she is going to sleep right this moment

If you see the examples listed above you can sense that the sentences above are based on the appearance of the people, one is commenting on. For instant take the last sentence, “Sarah looks like she is going…”, now if you are commenting about a person that way subsequently you are stating what you can perceive on “Sarah’s” face.

So yes, it is very correct to say “looks like” as it is a literal synonym of “seems like” and both of them have similar context just different literal meanings.

How Do You Use “It Seems Like”?

“It seems like” is used when users speak about a noun in a probability. Like people use it when they mention subject (it) + seems like + sentence altogether in one statement. For example 

Subject +Seems like +Sentence
  • It seems like Harry needs a haircut
  • It seems like she cried
  • It seems like they will arrive any time now
  • It seems like we need more time to complete
  • It seems like we have to hurry to get there
  • It seems like the plants don’t need more water 

As mentioned in the examples above it is clear that “it seems like” can be used in a sentence when it has a mention of a noun just like in the first three sentences, and it can be used when there is the use of an independent clause in a sentence like the last three sentences.

Two men discussing on a topic
Grammatically correct sentences make the conversation easier

The Difference Between “Seems Like”, “Looks Like” And “sounds like”

Although “seems like”, “looks like” and “sounds like” mean almost the same thing in context-wise but they have different literal meanings.

“Seems like” is used when someone is judging the other person or the situation for example, “it seems like it’s going to rain.” Now a person will comment on this on the bases of the evidence he has (cloudy sky) or what he thinks about the weather (according to geographical factors.)

“Looks like” is used when there is a visual or physical appearance of the situation or the person for example, “he looks like a kind guy.” Now a person would comment on the personality of what oneself can see on the face of the others.

“Sounds like” is used when mentioning something similar to something else like “this song sounds like an anthem.” A person would state this when he recognizes a similar beat.

In some sentences you can interchange seems like with looks like, for example:

Seems likeLooks like
It seems like it will rain.It looks like it will rain.
It seems like she cried.It looks like she cried.
It seems like we will reach soon.It looks like we will reach soon.
Interchangeable Sentences

 To learn further about this topic, you can refer to the link below:

Seems vs. Sounds vs. Looks like


After we’ve noted all the similarities and differences of “seems like” and “looks like” as the types of verb structures, it is safe to say that these types are grammatically correct and just variations of each other. You’ve seen how they differ in literal meanings but at the end of the day, they are very much similar to each other as we can interchange them in the same sentence.

Either of these two structures can be used when needed and from this, we can also learn that all these variations are transposable. Hence stating they don’t stand much difference from each other.

To read more about the language usage, check my article on “See you around” VS “See you later”: A Comparison.

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