Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > What´s he/she look like?    

What´s he/she look like?


What´s he/she look like?
What�s he/she look like?

I �m quite sure this is used in spoken English instead of "What does he/she look like?"

But I can �t find any documentation to back it up and non-native English teachers tell me that they were taught that "does" can never be abbreviated.

Does anyone know the "rules" on this? And if so can you give a link to the documentation?

Thanks in advance


12 Oct 2012      


I don �t think "does" can be abbreviated, but then again why can it not?

12 Oct 2012     

Mariethe House

It is possible to say: "What is he like?" ( what �s he like?). Maybe this is where the confusion comes from...Smile 

12 Oct 2012     

United Kingdom

Dear Mr. Sneeze,


You are correct.


�What�s he/she look like?� = �What does he/she look like?�


I have spent a considerable time researching every Contraction it is possible to make, for a Worksheet which I am preparing.


Randolph Quirk et al, �A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language�, page 132, state: �Occasionally, does is contracted in informal style to �s, for example, �What�s it matter?�  (�What does it matter?�)


Here are some sentences written by me this evening, impromptu, in very informal style, using the word �does�, in the contracted form.  I agree that they are unusual, but they are not impossible.


1.       How�s he manage to do it?                         How does he manage to do it?

2.       What�s she do for a job?                            What does she do for a job?

3.       When�s he start his job?                             When does he start his job?

4.       Where�s she work?                                     Where does she work?

5.       Which�s he use most often, this or that?    Which does he use most often, this or that?

6.       Who�s she resemble?                                  Who does she resemble?

7.       To whom�s he owe the money?                  To whom does he owe the money?

8.       Why�s she do this every time?                    Why does she do this every time?


I hope that this helps you.


Les Douglas


P.S. �Bless you!

12 Oct 2012     


Hi Sneeze!
take a look at this definition: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/look_1
appearance [linking verb] to have a particular appearance: How do I look?
look tired/happy/sad etc You look tired. You should go to bed.
look as if/as though/like He looked as if he hadn �t washed for a week.
What did the man look like?
My sister doesn �t look anything like me.
 ➔ look like a million dollars at million (4) ➔ see usage note seem

12 Oct 2012     

United States

I don �t agree that it �s a contraction, just a "lazy" pronunciation, so I wouldn �t use it in writing, except in re-creating speech.

12 Oct 2012     


It struck me as a form of ellipsis, leaving something out, and it�s actually very common in spoken speech, though I�ve never really thought about why until now.

I looked up my Celcia-Murcia & Freeman, The Grammar Book, and they refer to it in chapter 13 as Elliptical questions: - wh questions which have a deleted auxillary.
I did a quick google and also found this from CUP where it is also called an elliptical question: page 63 http://www.cambridge.org/other_files/downloads/esl/tge/TGE-Chapter4.pdf
Cheers, and thanks for bringing this to our attention

12 Oct 2012     


I certainly wouldn �t use that contraction in writing either - it �s not correct. 
These questions are often confused:
What �s he like? = Can you describe his character, etc.
What does he like? = What are his interests.
What does he look like? = Describe him - tall, faire, etc
How is he? = What �s his health like?
Have a nice weekend!

12 Oct 2012     

United Kingdom

I �d like to make a few points here:

- of course it �s a contraction (see Les � Quirk citation - but also see Wiki entry below); the doe... has been omitted, that �s all. I don �t think there �s any element of laziness about it; contractions can be seen as the written form of the spoken language, after all.

- it is a recognised contraction in �very informal � (not non-standard, note) English. And it can be used as such in written English, obviously. Have a look at this Wikipedia entry.

- contractions go in and out of fashion: does not was traditionally contracted to don �t until the 19th century (just look at any of the Restoration playwrights, for example). According to Merriam-Webster, the written form doesn �t only dates back to the early 19th century (Jane Austen never used it).

13 Oct 2012     

Mariethe House

Very interesting discussion between learned people !(I , not included!!Big smile)
However, Almaz you get on my nerves because you �re so clever!LOL
And how �s Les manage to be so right all the time?LOL
Have a good day all and thank you for your brilliant and thorough answers .

13 Oct 2012     

United Kingdom

"And how�s Les manage to be so right all the time?"

Ye wee devil, Mariethe! I saw what you did there. Evil Smile

13 Oct 2012     

1    2    Next >