Sunday, April 15

Do you like…? or Are you like…?

At the lightning-quick moment of speaking, many students get confused how to form a question. For example, in our title, the speaker cannot choose between two Helping Verbs: “Do” or “Are.”

This is a common experience among non-native speakers of English. How to start the question is important.

The confusion between “Do you like…?” and “Are you like…?” happens because there are in fact 2 different kinds of “Like” (well, at least 2).

“Like” as a Verb

The first kind of “Like” is a Verb, which is familiar to many learners. It means to enjoy or prefer.

For example,

1.       I like peaches.

2.       She likes buff guys.

(*”buff” means having a fit body)

3.       They like to go for walks.

As you know, if we change these sentences into questions, because “Like” is a Verb, they will become:

1.       Do you like peaches?

2.       Does she like buff guys?

3.       Do they like to go for walks?

Right? This pattern is quite common to us.

“Like” as a Preposition

On the other hand, “Like” can also be a Preposition.

This time we have to use the VerbIs” because we don’t have any Verb (!) 

Don’t forget: “Like” is a Preposition now. Take a look:

1.       He is like his father. They are both stubborn.

(*"stubborn" means they don’t change their opinions)

2.       That beach is like Pattaya in Thailand.

3.       Learning English is like learning to swim.

As you can see from our examples, the meaning of “Like” is to have similar characteristics or quality. In other words, to resemble.

If we change the 3 example sentences above into questions, they will all become:

1.       Is he like his father?

2.       Is that beach like Pattaya in Thailand?

3.       Is learning English like learning to walk?

It’s a bit hard but try not to get confused.

From a sentence, just switch the Subject and the Verb (“Is”) to make a question.

Let’s Practice!

Q: Do you like Steve Jobs?

A: Yes, I like Steve Jobs.

Q: Are you like Steve Jobs?

A: No, I am not like Steve Jobs.

Q: Do you like your grandfather?

A: Yes, I like my grandfather.

Q: Are you like your grandfather?

A: No, I am not like my grandfather.

Of course some of you might answer in different ways depending on your real situation. But the example answers above are average.

The main point is: Don’t mix up the two kinds of “Like”( Verb and Adjective).  If you do, you might say the wrong meaning.

Look like, Taste like etc.

Lastly, I have to warn you about another use of “Like” as a Preposition. It is usually combined with Verbs such as “look,” “taste” etc.

For example,

1.       He looks like Eminem.

2.       It tastes like chicken.

3.       They work like turtles.

Of course in these examples, you already have Verbs (look, taste, work). So you must follow them.

If you change them into questions, they will become:

1.       Does he look like Eminem?

2.       Does it taste like chicken?

3.       Do they work like turtles?

Hope you learned something!



  1. i alway use "like" with do inthe right position and meaning but this lessons teach me know about "Are like ,Is like " thai i ve never use.
    thank you

  2. Hi Aun! (Should I call you this?) ;-)

    Glad I could help.

    There are many more uses of the word "Like" waiting to give students a hard time. Especially when you start comparing it to "as" and "as if."

    In any case, good luck wit your study of the English language. Please feel free to ask questions if there's anything unclear



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