It looks as if it's going to rain

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mariethe house

Member
french
What is best:
It looks as if it is going to rain
or
It looks like it is going to rain

Is it a difference between British and American English?
 
  • Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    I would say that "like" is also more common in AuE. It would often be shortened informally to:

    [It] looks like it's gonna rain.
    [It] looks like rain [coming].

    I would use your first form with "as if it's" or "as though it's" in a more formal setting.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    To me, BE, both look normal; I would use either without really thinking about it. English, indeed any language, often has several ways of expressing anything in particular. Often there are are slight tinges of difference, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. The expressions are just different ways of saying the same thing. In dialogue one person might repeat what another has said but slightly differently.
    A: It looks as if it's going to rain.
    B: It looks like it doesn't it. I better get the washing in.
     

    Codinome Shlomo

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    I would say that "like" is also more common in AuE. It would often be shortened informally to:

    [It] looks like it's gonna rain.
    [It] looks like rain [coming].

    I would use your first form with "as if it's" or "as though it's" in a more formal setting.
    So it is possible to say, "it looks as though it's going to rain"?
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I think that there is a reluctance to use "like" as a conjunction in formal BrE, though as a preposition it's fine.
    Yes, this was certainly true 30-40 years ago and I remember teaching that "like" is only a preposition. To say "he looked like he'd seen a ghost" was quite non-standard in BrE and to me sounded particularly AmE. But times have changed and I notice that "like" is used this way by a lot of BrE speakers nowadays.
    Iìd say that in formal writing "as if" is still preferred; I believe Americans prefer "as though", which is fine in BrE too.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The ngrams are interesting and, I think, informative here.

    Being a boring old fart, I couldn't say It looks like it is, though it doesn't make me feel actually bilious. I would have to say It looks as though (or as if) it is.

    The ngrams only use the written word, so that may prejudice against the newfangled.

    I was pleased to note that BE people still seem reluctant to write It looks like it is:warn::eek:.
     
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