How to use “look” in English

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The verb “look” can be used in many different ways in English. Here’s our guide!

Look (see)

“If you look left, you can see the castle.”

“She looked carefully at the photo.”


Look for = search for something

A:”What are you doing?”

B: “I’m looking for my phone. I think I left it here earlier. Have you seen it?”

Look at = look at something with attention

“Look at that view! It’s beautiful, isn’t it!”

(Don’t confuse “look at” with “watch” which means to look at something which is moving)

Have a look = look for something

“I can’t find my new book. Can you have a look for it?”

Take a look = look at something

“Take a look at that house. It’s gorgeous!”

Look + adjective (seem / appear)

“You look tired.” (Or hungry / upset / happy, etc)

“It looks likely / unlikely (that) we’ll go on holiday this year.”

We often use “look + adjective” to make a comment about someone’s appearance.

“You look well! (You look healthy)

“You look great!” (You look really good in those clothes / You look very healthy)

“She looks lovely in red.” (The colour red really suits her)

Look + as if / as though / like + clause

“It looks as if / as though it’s going to rain.”

You can also hear “like ” used instead of “as if” or “as though”:

“It looks like it ‘s going to rain.”

If you have a noun following “look” you can’t use “as if” or “as though”. Instead, use “like”:

“It looks like rain.”

Look like (be similar to)

“She looks like her mother.”


look alike = look similar

“Those two really look alike!”

(a look-alike competition = a competition where you try to look like a famous person)

look the same = look identical

“He looks the same as his father.”


Other phrases with “look”

good-looking = attractive

“He’s a very good-looking man!”

have good looks = look attractive

“Do you think it’s important to have good looks in order to succeed?”

give someone a dirty look = look in a bad way at someone

“Don’t look now, but Jenny is over there and she’s giving us such a dirty look!”

Common phrasal verbs with “Look”

Look for = search for something

“He’s always looking for his keys.”

Look at = focus on something you can see

“Look at that man over there!”

Look after = take care of someone

“He has to look after his kids at the weekend.”

Look around = visit a place to inspect it

“Some people are coming to look around our house tonight. We want to sell it.”

“They looked around the shops in the morning then visited the museum.”

Look forward to = anticipate something with pleasure

“I’m looking forward to my holiday!”

(We also use this as the final phrase in letters and emails, such as “I look forward to meeting you next week”.)

Look out = pay attention

“Look out! There’s a car coming!”

Look up to = admire someone

“Is there anyone in your family that you look up to?”

Look down on = consider someone to be inferior

“He’s a terrible snob and he looks down on people who are poorer than him.”

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