What does she like vs. What is she like?

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #180 [color=blue]“Basic Grammar Exercises (1)”, question 3

What she like? Does she like movies? Or does she prefer reading?

(a) is
(b) do
(c) are
(d) has

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #180 [color=blue]“Basic Grammar Exercises (1)”, answer 3

What is she like? Does she like movies? Or does she prefer reading?

Correct answer: (a) is

Should not it be “What does she like” ? I mean,usage of “is” is right for sure,however as the sentence proceeds ,it has parallel construction of “Does type questions” ,

So if i use “What does she like” would be more appropriate.

Hi Vinod.gandhi,

Let me explain the difference: What’s she like? means: What sort of person is she?

What does she like? means: What sort of things does she like? Does she like sport/dancing/reading ?


According to second and third sentence (Does she like movies? Or does she prefer reading?), don’t you think that “does” is the appropriate answer?


‘does’ is an appropriate answer Coozee, but ‘does’ is not one of the options in the test.
‘is’ is also an appropriate answer, as Alan has explained, and this is an option in the test.

Hello Alan!
Please explain what is a difference between “what does she like?”, “what is she like?” I am still confused.
You wrote “What’s she like? means: What sort of person is she?” Does it mean her character or just hobby? and why if she likes sport we must use “what does she like?”, but if she likes movies we use “What is she like?”
And what a guestion should we use when need to say how kind or clever she is?

Hi Olgavic,

I can only repeat what I said in March (above). What’s she like? means: What sort/type of person is she? And this refers to her character and not what she does or what she likes or what she is fond of doing. If you want to know what someone is like, you ask about whether someone is kind, clever, enthusiastic, helpful. considerate and so on.


Hi Alan!
Thank you for explanation.
It is clear when we ask what a person is this refers to her/his character and so on. I looked again at test and think I got the context. The first question was about her personality and the others two were about “sort of things she likes”. First I decided all questions are about what she likes to do. :slight_smile:


there is a confusion for me in applying grammer rules after showing the correct answer!

The distinction between the two questions is clear. But, regarding the test question itself, it seemed that the first question is a general question and the following two questions are specific or came as a way to clear vagueness. As if when we ask: What does she play? Does she play basketball? Does she play volleyball? You make the question clear by giving options.
For the test purposes, does is not found so using is as the correct word is a must. And it fits in its place giving a click.
Thanks Mr Alan.
Omar Rizk

The question setter has muddled here because he has not put the right option in the question. The correct option must be " does’ instead of ‘is’.
What is she like ? means behaviour What does she like? means her choice.

We assume that the question setter intended to use ‘is’ as that can possibly work here.

What is she like? (What’s she like as a person?)
Does she… (Does she like this type of thing?)

I agree that ‘what does she…’ seems to fit the following sentence better, but it is not necessarily the case.

Hi Alan,
“What is she like?” is it idiom?
it is gramatically not using “is” but “does”, isn’t?
thank you


The question would be: What is she like? This means what sort/kind of person is she? In other words, describe her to me. There is no ‘action’ here and so you wouldn’t use ‘does’.


too hard question for “Basic Grammar Exercises (1)” in my honest opinion. give way my point :’(