Don’t write “how it looks like”

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I encounter a lot of people in technical writing circles who stumble on this phrase, which can unfairly affect professional perception:

How does it look like?

This isn’t grammatically correct, and sounds clumsy to native speakers. We’d likely say:

What does it look like?

This invites you to describe what you’re seeing, or to compare it to something else. You might reply with “it looks like a forest with green trees” or “it looks just like the Black Forest in Germany”.

Another form is:

How does it look?

This is more of a judgement or a summary. You might say “it looks pretty”.

I empathise with people learning English. Granted it makes more sense than some other European languages, but it still has its quirks.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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