How vs. what

B1- B1 B2 C1

WRONG: How is she like?
RIGHT: What is she like?

How and what – an endless source of problems for Czech speakers of English. This week’s mistake focuses on the connection with ‘like’.

Saying, “How is she like?” is wrong in English. We use ‘how’ in connection with a request for information – How do you get there? How do I repair my car? etc, or if we want an explanation for something – How did that happen? How is the magician doing that?

But with ‘like’ we do not use ‘how’ – we use ‘what’. We say, “What is she like?” Or another example, “What are your neighbours like?”

Remember, the same is true with names too. We don’t say, “How is he called?”, we say, “What is he called?”

Here is a short conversation with both:
A: Are you still with that guy? What is he called?
B: Kevin
A: Oh yeah, that’s him. What is he like? I still haven’t met him!